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VARIOUS LECTURES 

— 1892 TO I904 



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BY 

PETER FYFE, F. R.S.E. 

SANITARY INSPECTOR, GLASGOW. 

EX-PRESIDENT OF THE SANITARY ASSOCIATION OF SCOTLAND. 

EXAMINER IN SANITARY SCIENCE, ETC. 



G L A S G O W. 

— 1908 — 



HAe- 



PSU CORPORA 

JjVf LIBRARY " 'Ofy 

t,, 24 XfJ. 1f ;1 . v 



THE PROGRESS OF DEATH 

IN 

SCOTLAND AND HER COUNTIES SINCE 1855 : 

A COMPARISON. 



Since you did rne the honour to elect me President of this 
.A ssociation, I have been somewhat anxiously meditating upon an 
address which might be instructive and at the same time run on 
paths comparatively untrodden. 

In these days of general enlightenment and voluminous publica- 
tion, the observant mind soon becomes impressed with the salient 
features of any applied science. The science of sanitation is not 
excepted from this rule. It is young in years, but in the heart 
of the nation it is growing mature and strong. Men and women 
in this kingdom are now coming to understand and believe that, 
" in order to the prevention of filth diseases, the prevention of 
filth is indispensable ; " and not only so, but also to appreciate, to 
some extent, Sir John Simon's other truism, that " the exacter 
studies of modem times have further shown that, by various 
channels of indirect and clandestine influence, filth can operate 
more subtly and also far more widely and more distinctively than 
our forefathers conjectured." 

Two hundred years ago some of the fashionable and aristo- 
cratic celebrities of London stepped into their palaces, round the 
thresholds of which heaps of cabbage stalks and rotten apples 



2 THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 

had accumulated, and Macaulay tells us that at that period St. 
James' Square was a receptacle for all the offal and cinders, for 
all the dead cats and dead dogs of Westminster. The corollary of 
this state of matters was a death-rate of 1 in every 23 persons per 
annum, or 43 per 1,000. 

It is consequently obvious that such distant forefathers as 
these had " conjectured " little regarding filth versus health. To- 
day we are in many aspects of public health far past the 
conjectural period. We have arrived after great labour in the 
haven of certainty, and throughout the land, in the minds of even 
the ignorant and formerly unsympathetic, is arising a partial 
revolt against preventable disease and its causes. To us is 
given the proud position of leaders in the revolt. To make 
effective a further onslaught on the known enemies of health and 
life, we must carry extended convictions to the great body of the 
public, and I am firmly persuaded the London Times was on the 
right lines in its editorial of 11th August on the Congress of 
Hygiene and Demography, lately held in London, when it said — 
" The most pressing work of sanitary reformers is not now so 
much to legislate as to educate." 

In thus expressing myself, I do not wish it to be inferred that 
I am satisfied with our Public Health Act of Scotland. 

Before I conclude, I think I will be able to show that death 
from one dreadful preventable malady practically remains un- 
checked in our land. I refer to tubercular disease. The graves 
filled by tuberculosis are year by year far too many, and it will 
be one of the foremost aims of my address to-day to show with 
certainty how we stand statistically as a country in relation to 
this scourge. I thought it would be new and instructive also to 
demonstrate the general progress of health in Scotland, and the 
particular decrease and increase of death in her thirty-three 
counties since registration in 1855 to 1888 — first, from all causes; 
second, from zymotic disease ; and third, from tubercular disease. 
I trust I am not in error in believing that the pictures of death 
thus delineated will serve a threefold purpose, namely — (1) To 
excite the interest and attention of our legislators and our 
central authorities; (2) to produce a healthy stimulus to sanitary 
activity in our county and burghal Local Authorities ; and (3) 



THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IX SCOTLAND. 3 

to exhibit to the people at large in a simple, graphic, and incon- 
testable manner, the past triumphs of sanitation over disease in 
some localities, and otherwise the triumphs of disease where and 
when probably few or no attempts have been made sanitarily to 
check its progress. 

Before entering upon these demonstrations, it is due to explain 
to this Congress, as briefly as I can, the methods adopted and the 
basis upon which my thesis rests. 

First of all, permit me to state my thesis. It is, that while 
Scotland as a country has advanced during the past 33 years in 
public health, and the death-rate from zymotic disease has all 
•over been greatly reduced, tubercular disease has not made a 
corresponding advance, and in a considerable number of localities 
has in this period been stationary or increasing ; and further, as 
tubercular disease is now known to be largely preventable, and 
has been proved to be communicable from man to man and from 
animals to man, the time has come when it is desirable and 
necessary, in the interests of the people, to have such special 
legal powers from Government as shall, when applied, materially 
reduce the death-rate from this class of disease. 

To prove the first of my premises I had recourse to the Scottish 
Registrar's yearly returns. From these 33 statistical haystacks 
we have the directing lines of mortality, which you see pointing 
"upwards and downwards in the diagrams before you.* The single 
diagrams at the top represent in a striking and lucid way the 
successes of our " last enemy " among the people of Scotland and 
in each of our counties from year to year since 1855. The deaths 
represented here are from all causes in each 10,000 persons living. 
Immediately beneath this "all causes" diagram you will observe 
two interwoven diagrams — one drawn in full black line, the other 
in dotted line. These represent the number of deaths in Scotland 
•and in each separate county which occurred yearly since 1855, 
(1) from zymotic disease and (2) from tubercular disease out of 
each 100 deaths from all causes. 

* See diagrams accompanying this paper. In the' diagrams showing 
Death-rates from All Causes per 10,000, the rates range from 100 at the 
bottom to 310 at the top. In the Zymotic and Tubercular diagrams, the 
percentages range from to 40. 



4 THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 

The upper diagram, accordingly, exhibits the general progress 
or retrogression of the people in healthfulness ; the lower ones, 
the progressive incidence upon the general death-rate of the two 
classes of disease which are most destructive, and which are more 
directly amenable to sanitary influences. 

In connection with the lower diagrams, let me here explain 
what I have put down as zymotic, and what as tubercular disease. 
The Registrar-General of Scotland has twice changed the list of 
diseases called " zymotics " since 1855 — viz., in 1877, when Dr. 
Farr's nomenclature was used for the first time; and in 1883, 
when the " classes " and " orders " of disease were enlarged and 
again rearranged. Six " orders " of disease appeared this year 
in the class " zymotic " instead of four ; while to the " con- 
stitutional " class four sub-orders were added, two of them — viz., 
rheumatic fever and purpura being taken from the zymotic class. 
All this rearrangement was doubtless scientifically necessary, but 
is to the statistician, among such a plethora of figures, a source 
of perplexity and trouble. The prevailing custom in calculating 
death-rates from zymotic diseases is to take what are called the 
seven principal orders. These are — small-pox, measles, scarlet 
fever, typhus, diphtheria, enteric fever, and hooping-cough. To 
make these zymotic diagrams as comprehensive as possible, I have 
added to this list chicken-pox, relapsing fever, simple and ill- 
defined fever, simple cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, erysipelas, 
and croup. The last mentioned disease is added for two reasons 
— first, and mainly, because up to 1877 it is hopelessly entangled 
with diphtheria in the Registrar-General's reports ; and secondly, 
it has been thought by many experts to be the same disease as 
diphtheria, especially in its membranous form, and a predisposition 
to it appears to be caused by imperfectly drained dwellings, sewer 
emanations, and low lying sites. 

Tubercular disease, the rates for which are shown by the 
dotted line diagrams, includes all deaths through phthisis, tabes 
mesenterica, tubercular meningitis, and scrofula. These four 
main so-called constitutional diseases are taken by the Registrar- 
General up to the latest date to represent the sum total of 
devastation wrought by the tubercular virus. The line of death 
representing the yearly incidence of this dreadful disease on the 



THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 5 

various populations in the counties of Scotland, high as it may 
appear in the diagrams, is, I am convinced, below the real level. 
This is not the fault of the Registrar-General or his various 
assistants throughout the country. It is well known that the 
word consumption is a terror in families, and the popular belief 
that it is in itself the legacy of heredity interferes with . many 
medical men, and has a tendency to hinder them from telling 
under their certificates the whole truth. This is especially the 
case when ladies of marriageable age happen to be among the 
bereaved. Surely some method could be devised (and it cer- 
tainly ought to be) whereby the medical attendant may be legally 
required to write upon his certificate the true cause of death, 
and hand it, or send it direct, to the local registrars without 
submitting it to the scrutiny of relatives. In the minds of true 
sanitarians and vital statisticians, any system which tends to 
bring influences to bear against a statement of the real facts 
stands condemned. If secrecy be necessary and expedient, by 
all means let us provide for secrecy, but not at the expense of 
truth. 

Having said so much, let me now draw your attention to the 
diagrams and the table of septennial death-rates. It is far from 
my intention to weary you with any detailed review of these 
diagrams. Each of them will, I think, repay quiet and thoughtful 
study, and it is my hope that if they are placed before you in a 
reduced and compact form, you will not find it waste of time to 
bestow this upon them. The essential part for us at the present 
time is what they prove, and to a statement of this I address 
myself. 

From the initiation of the Registration Act for Scotland in 
1855 down to the year 1862, our country may be said to have 
existed, sanitarily speaking, in the most nebulous condition. Our 
legislators were just awaking about this time to the fact that the 
apparently deeply rooted philosophy, to the effect that each death 
was to a very small circle calamitous and distressing, but to the 
social fabric of the State was more or less advantageous as it 
removed a consumer of the common stock, was a vast mistake. 
It was beginning to dawn upon them that every death under the 
non-productive age period was a total loss to the community at 



6 THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 

large. The cholera epidemic had in 1848-49 devastated Scotland 
and filled all classes with intense alarm, and the State Board of 
of Health were urging Scottish centres of population to bestir 
themselves to greater cleanliness. Yet it was not until 1862 that 
Scotland obtained anything approaching sanitary powers, and 
these were meagre at the best. Accordingly, I have taken the 
seven years wherein we had the benefits of registration previous 
to 1862 — namely, 1855 to 1861, both inclusive — and exhibit upon 
a table — first, the average death-rate from all causes per annum 
per 10,000 inhabitants in Scotland, and each of her counties for 
these seven years ; second, the average percentage of these deaths 
attributable to the zymotic diseases I have already named ; third, 
the average percentage of these deaths attributable to tubercular 
disease. 

These appear in three columns on the left hand side of the table, 
and together they may be termed the statistical sanitary picture 
of "Earliest Scotland," as previous to 1855 we can get no 
authentic vital statistics anent our country. It will be observed 
that the various counties are arranged according to the lowness 
of their respective death-rates from all causes. Against these 
figures are given upon the right hand identical equivalents for 
the last septennial — viz., 1882 to 1888. The figures down the 
centre show the changes which have been made as between 
the various counties, in the order of their least mortality from 
all causes. 

During the twenty-one years which elapse between these two 
septennial periods, it might reasonably be imagined that in every 
part of Scotland a steady advance in life-saving among the people 
had been going on, as for a long time previous to 1882 we had 
legal instruments at command wherewith to elevate the public 
health to a certain degree of excellence, if the various responsible 
burghal and parochial authorities had done their duty. 

The table now before you holds up the mirror to the duty 
which has been done. The difference in Scotland between the 
all causes death-rates of the first septennial and the same rate in 
the second is 14 - 43 per 10,000 of the population per annum. 
This means a saving of life during these last seven years to the 
extent of 5,561, every year calculating the population of Scotland 



THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 7 

as at the middle year — viz., 1885, or a total saving during the 
whole term of the septennial of 38,927 lives. 

Gentlemen, this is a portion of the reward of sanitation, but a 
greater reward still is shown by the first diagram, as the heaviest 
incidence of death upon the inhabitants of our land is there shown 
to have been between the years of 1864 and 1875. Even a more 
direct evidence of the effect of sanitary work is shown by the 
general decrease of mortality from zymotic diseases. During the 
course of the first septennial, 21*28 per cent of the total deaths 
were from zymotics. 

In the last septennial the percentage fell to 13*16, or a decrease 
of 8*11 per cent. I regret I cannot give a similar account with 
respect to tubercular disease. Our progress against this dread 
enemy of life has been by comparison microscopical. 16 '14 per 
cent of our total dead fell victims to this plague in the first 
septennial, and 14*48 per cent in our last, or a difference in 
favour of our last of only 1*66 per cent. 

Having now glanced at our country as a whole, let me analyze 
a little, and show you where public health has improved, where 
it is stationary, and where matters have grown worse. Taking 
the death-rate from all causes first, the following counties show, 
in comparing the two septennial periods, an improvement of over 
10 per 10,000 living — viz., Haddington, Nairn, Aberdeen, Perth, 
Stirling, Dumbarton, Ayr, Forfar, Edinburgh, Renfrew, and 
Lanark. Those that show an improvement under 10 per 10,000 
are Peebles, Kincardine, Banff, Roxburgh, Fife, and Kirkcud- 
bright. The counties which have remained stationary are 
Berwick, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland, Wigton, Dumfries, 
and Bute, 

It is now my duty to point out that ten counties have 
apparently gone back in health, six of them to an extent less 
than 10 per 10,000, and four of them over 10 per 10,000. The 
former lot of these "black sheep" comprise Linlithgow, Clack- 
mannan, Kinross, Argyle, Elgin, and Orkney ; the latter, Selkirk, 
Inverness, Caithness, and Shetland. 

In fatalities from zymotic disease, the table and also the 
diagrams show a universal progression in the right direction. 
No county bears the terrible stigma of being reactionary with 



8 THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 

regard to truly infectious maladies. While this is so, it will be 
observed that a few counties have been lingering on the way. I 
take an example. It is the pigmy county of Scotland — little 
Clackmannan. From 1855 to 1861 her average zymotic rate 
was 16 - 71 per cent of her total deaths. In the 1882-88 septennial 
it was 13*78, or 2 - 93 per cent of an improvement in twenty-one 
years. Her little twin-sister, Kinross, in the same period made 
an advance of 8*97 per cent, or over three times greater progress. 
The county which has the highest credit, from the table and 
diagrams illustrative of the progress of zymotic disease, is Forfar- 
shire. No less a difference than 12 "70, or nearly 12| per cent, is 
shown in the last seven years over the first seven. A very high 
zymotic rate was maintained in this county until 1874, after 
which, as if by magic, these diseases fell from their deadly 
eminence of 28 per cent to 16 per cent in 1875, and they have 
rarely done much more mischief up to 1888. Forfarshire is to be 
congratulated on her success in grappling with zymotics, as 
although she is handicapped with the third city in Scotland — 
" Bonnie Dundee " — and although she is only thirtieth in general 
healthiness, in freedom from a high zymotic rate she ranks 
twenty-third. 

The county which in the 1882-88 septennial shows absolutely 
the lowest average zymotic rate is Orkney at 5'7I per cent. The 
lowest rate during the 1855-62 septennial was 9 - 57 in Sutherland- 
shire, so we see that progress in this direction has been made 
even in minimums. 

Speaking generally, in similarly conditioned communities a 
universally low rate of mortality from infectious disease indicates 
a high rate of health administration. Sanitary zeal means 
shrinking zymotics. Liberal expenditure for health purposes by 
any sanitary authority may be taken as indicative of sanitary 
zeal. In making these statements I have my eye at present on 
one of our most beautiful pastoral counties, through which the 
Ettrick and Yarrow flow in pellucid sweetness. Selkirkshire, 
rich in beauty and historic associations, is, alas ! also rich in 
zymotic death. Her position is so strange in this respect, com- 
pared with her surrounding neighbours, that I was tempted to 
enquire into the cause. 



THE PKOGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 9 

You will observe from the table that, while Roxburgh and 
Peebles have an average zymotic rate of 10 - 84 and 9 "54, Selkirk, 
although eighth among the counties in her general rate, permits 
13 "13 per cent of her dead to succumb to this class of diseases. 
If she were arranged according to her zymotic rate she would fall 
from being the eighth in position to the twenty-sixth. 

Now I find from Dr. Skelton's Handbook on Public Health and 
the Local Goverment Act, page 54, that Selkirk, as a county under 
the Public Health Act, 1S67, administered by the Parochial 
Boards, had the following staff to carry on sanitary administra- 
tion : — Medical officers, none; sanitary inspectors, 5; total amount 
of salaries paid to these five sanitary inspectors, £16, 10s. per 
annum, or at the rate of £3, 6s. each. I find also from the 
annual reports of the Board of Supervision from 1882 to 1888, 
that the total expenditure for public health purposes in all 
Selkirkshire during these years was .£1,974. I have mentioned 
the zymotic rates of Roxburgh and Peebles in comparison with 
that of Selkirk. Let us see how they compare as to the means 
employed and the money expended in the cause of public health. 
Roxburgh, having fully double the population of Selkirk, employed 
in the county 9 medical officers at an expenditure of £28, 14s. 
per annum, and 24 sanitary inspectors at an expenditure of 
£95, 19s. per annum ; while, in the course of the seven years 
1882 to 1888, she spent no less than £44,824 in the cause of 
public health. Peebles, with a population almost the half of that 
of Selkirk, had for county purposes, 2 medical officers costing 
£4, 16s. per annum, and 10 sanitary inspectors at an outlay of 
£35, 10s. per annum ; and in the seven years for public health 
purposes she spent £7,981, or, with half the population, £6,007 
more than her populous sister. Other, and to me unknown, 
causes may be at work to place Selkirk in her unenviable position; 
but it is quite evident that what her people have gained in 
pocket they have more than lost in zymotic filled graves. 

Other counties, such as Linlithgow, Renfrew, and Lanark, 
exhibit features in this respect of melancholy interest, and it 
behoves the burghal and county authorities within them to purge 
their districts of diseases, which have no right there in the 
proportions in which our table and diagrams find them. This 



10 THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 

remark may be said to apply with greater force to Linlithgowshire 
than to the other two, in that the latter have within their borders 
the busy centres of compacted population, where the zymotic 
bacteria can slay their victims in the greatest numbers. That we 
should find Linlithgow, over the last seven years, permitting 
infectious disease to prevail to such an extent as to place her 
third from the worst in Scotland, is, to say the least of it, 
unexpected ; but, while it casts unavoidable reflections on her 
past authorities, it should form a strong incentive to her new 
authorities to spare neither money nor pains to regain for her 
her true position among Scottish counties. I would fain linger 
upon these zymotic diagrams, and show how they influence the 
" all causes " diagram above them, how the sharp peaks of the 
one are often faithfully reproduced year after year upon the 
other ; but I must pass on, contenting myself with calling the 
students' attention, especially those of Scotland, to Caithness, 
Elgin, Aberdeen, Forfar, Perth, Clackmannan, Dumbarton, 
Renfrew, Edinburgh, Peebles, and Dumfries. 

We now come to consider the thirty- three districts of our 
country in relation to tubercle in its fourfold forms. The first 
thing we see in looking at the dotted line diagrams is the even 
lines of death-rate which they show for the most part. In 
scrutinizing closely, however, we find that a gradual, though 
very small improvement has taken place in twenty-two counties. 
These are Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland, Inverness, Ross and 
Cromarty, Kincardine, Elgin, Banff, Nairn, Argyll, Kinross, 
Perth, Aberdeen, Ayr, Bute, Dumbarton, Edinburgh, Renfrew, 
Lanark, Berwick, Roxburgh, and Wigtown. In six counties the 
tubercle bacillus has apparently held his own — namely, in 
Clackmannan, Haddington, Linlithgow, Stirling, Forfar, and 
Dumfries ; while in the remaining five this insidious foe has 
actually gained ground since the early years of the fifties. These 
five are Shetland, Fife, Selkirk, Peebles, and Kirkcudbright. As 
might naturally be expected from its situation, its dry and bracing 
climate, and its free loamy soil over a gravelly or sandy sub- 
stratum, Nairn bears the palm along with Inverness among the 
counties for freedom from tubercle. During the first septennial, 
13*71 per cent of the total dead in Nairn fell from tuberculosis. 



THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 11 

In the last septennial this percentage fell to 9-51, or a difference 
of 4'2 per cent. For the same periods Inverness shows 11 "42 
and 9-47 respectively, or a fall in the last septennial of 1-95 per 
cent. These are the only counties which can boast of a single 
figure percentage in this column. Aberdeen and Bute are the 
only other counties which show a reduction of over 4 per cent in 
this rate in the 21 years. 

It is with sorrow that I find our beautiful Selkirk again show- 
ing herself sanitarily ugly. She ranges in tubercular death far 
ahead of any other county, no less than 18-36 per cent being her 
average rate during the last septennial from tubercular disease. 
This rate of death is 2 - 36 more than she was burdened with 
from 1855 to 1861. Her position both in respect of zymotic 
and tubercular disease and death demands, in my opinion, enquiry 
on the part of our central authorities into her condition, and as to 
the causes which are at the root of such an unfortunate state of 
affairs. 

Now, Gentlemen, what conclusion can we come to as we glance 
along those almost parallel clotted lines ? Is it not this, that 
since registration began in 1855 clown to the year 1888, so far as 
tubercular disease is concerned, sanitation, as at present supported 
by law, has been, comparatively speaking, a failure. The general 
health has improved, but proportionally tuberculosis has not been 
grappled with. In some counties we certainly can show that 
among a hundred graves, two or three less were filled by con- 
sumptives during the last than during the first septennial, but 
for all Scotland the national graveyard contains in the last 
septennial only 166 tubercular victims less per 10,000 of the 
departed than it did in the first. We are not satisfied to call 
this progress, and less so than ever since Koch in 1881 dis- 
covered and demonstrated the immediate cause of tuberculosis. 

The second premise of my thesis — viz. : " that tuberculosis 
is communicable from man to man and from the lower animals 
to man," is not, unfortunately, capable of such complete demon- 
stration as the first. "We cannot, unhappily, draw a diagram which 
would show conclusively that that number of men or women 
fell victims to the dread bacillus from breathing contaminated 
dust, or eating infected food, or drinking inoculated milk, nor (2) 



12 THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 

are our scientific experts agreed among themselves upon certain 
points connected with the inception of this baleful disease, but 
now we do know that a specific bacillus does exist as the direct 
cause of tubercle, and most of us believe that dwelling under 
certain conditions, and eating and drinking food containing the 
spores or seeds of the tubercular germ will, in all probability, end 
in the consumptive's doom. 

What do we mean when we say that our people are made 
phthisical by "dwelling under certain conditions?" We mean 
that this contagion, like that of several of the zymotics, is pro- 
pagated, if not caused, by filth in the wrong place : — Filth in the 
home and its surroundings, filth on the person, filth in the air 
breathed, filth in the food and drink. By filth, we mean all 
matter, both general and specific, which tends to cause or breed 
disease. 

Gentlemen, it sometimes appears to me cruel on the inhabitants 
of our land that tubercular disease, which yearly cuts off one- 
seventh of our dead, should be one of slow progress. If, upon its 
first entry into the human system, it were as keen and deadly in 
its course as small-pox or typhus fever, we would long ere this 
have been compelled to face boldly and resolutely the problem of 
its amelioration, if not of its extinction. But, alas ! its progress 
is so insiduous and tardy that long before it becomes in the 
individual diagnoseable, or ends in his demise, we have lost all 
trace of the circumstances attending its causation. To us who 
cry aloud for free and abounding ventilation of workshops, 
factories, schools, and dwellings, it is galling to hear the sneering 
reply of the unbeliever — " Where is your proof that vitiated air 
is the direct cause of phthisis?'' We seek to enforce the thorough 
subsoil drainage of an inhabited locality, believing strongly in 
Dr. Buchanan's evidence that this appears essential to the 
diminution of phthisis. Again, the infidels confront us with 
the words, "Theoretical nonsense." The poor unfortunates, 
within whose withering frames the fierce malady is burning, 
unlike the victims of enteric, typhus, or scarlet fever, can 
move freely about in society, scattering broadcast on floors, 
beds, in our public places — nay, around our very children, the 
deadly sputum which has been proved to have been full of 



THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IN SCOTLAND. 13 

infectivity ; here, again, we are helpless, and legislation is dumb. 
The flesh of the tuberculous ox, and the milk of consumptive 
cows are still surreptitiously vended among the people at 
imminent risk to health, and only a few populous centres are 
armed with powers specific enough to grapple with the danger. 

Gentlemen, we are still "conjecturing" as to whether these 
things are "channels of indirect and clandestine influence," through 
which in one decade a fortieth of our race arrive at " that bourne 
from which no traveller returns." I am afraid it is the case that 
in this matter we are yet wondering what to do. As an engineer, 
I do not hold myself as competent to judge upon this momentous 
question, but along with many other laymen, who are reading 
from time to time the widely diverging views of scientists and 
experimentalists, I feel that, if what some of the best of them 
say is true, the population under our care have grave reason for 
demanding instant remedial legislation. It was with eager 
expectancy that I read the London Times' report of Professor 
Burdon Sanderson's address in opening the discussion on "Tuber- 
culosis." When I got to the end of this discussion I was still in 
a state of expectancy, for although the Professor came to the 
conclusion, as an individual, that " the creation of a systematized 
meat inspection, extending not only to the great towns, but over 
the whole country, was desirable, and that tuberculosis should be 
included in the schedule of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) 
Act"; and although other eminent investigators admitted the 
risk to the public of giving them the milk and the flesh of animals 
affected with tubercle, I found that the motion, which was gravely 
put and carried as the result of all this important discussion, was 
in these terms — " That the etiology of tubercular disease of early 
infancy, between three months and five years old, be referred for 
discussion at the next Congress." 

Gentlemen, this may mean much or it may mean little, but to 
the ordinary intellect, applying itself as best it may to the whole 
bent and meaning of this debate of the savants, it is certainly 
" caution large," if, indeed, it is not a discreet shirking of the 
whole matter. 

Fortunately, as I believe, our Standing Committee on Sanitary 
Matters in the House of Commons, of which our President of 



14 THE PROGRESS OF DEATH IX SCOTLAXD. 

Congress, Dr. Farquharson, is a distinguished member, have the 
courage of their opinions, and have passed measures lately for 
Glasgow and Edinburgh, which enables these cities to guard their 
citizens in great degree from the consumption of beef and milk 
inoculated with the specific virus of tubercle. 

Last year, before the Congress of this Association in Perth, 
Professor Hay attacked, in a lucid and most valuable paper, the 
impure air of many of our schools, and showed clearly how many 
of our children are in all likelihood done to death in close and 
ill-ventilated class-rooms. Your President of last year, Dr. 
Cameron, M.P., referred at the end of his able address to the 
smoke-laden condition of the atmosphere of our towns as the 
prime factor in lung disease ; and again and again the foetid air 
in the houses of the poor has been proved to be the destroyer of 
youthful life, and the cause of ultimate death in those who have 
passed into maturer years. But as yet we have no specific law 
as to the quality of a town's atmosphere, and a very imperfect 
law as to the production of smoke. We have no law as to the 
quality of air which must be supplied to our school children, nor 
have we any power to compel adequate ventilation in humble 
dwellings, which may not be stopped by the injudicious application 
of a bundle of rags by the ignorant householder. 

Subsoil drainage in a damp and low lying town or village site 
is in no way compulsory, and consumptive nurses may still, 
without let or hindrance, tend our young children, and spread 
around them unconsciously one of the many mantles of the 
destroying angel. The law is silent on those vital concerns. 
Who is to blame '? Who, but the people themselves. They want 
teaching, they need warning, they require working up. 

Gentlemen, this is your duty. Upon you, as the sanitarians of 
Scotland, aided by the public press, lies, first of all, the responsibility. 
When that responsibility is faithfully discharged, and the people 
of our country awake to a full knowledge of the " indirect and 
clandestine influences of filth " in its hydra-headed forms, we may 
rest assured our Government will, in the future as in the past, 
reach forth to us the helping hand. 



Series op Diagrams Showing the Death Rates prom all Causes per ioooo op the Population in§>cotland and each op her 
counties since 1855. and also the per centage op zymotic and tubercular deaths to total deaths. 



ALL CAUSES 



£H6B®&m Oasis- 



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Shetland 



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Series op Diagrams Showing the Death Rates prom all Causes per ioooo op the Population in Scotland and each op her 
counties since 1855. and also the per centace op zymotic and tubercular deaths to total deaths. 









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IE ARCHITECT, 95 bath St 



Series op Diagrams Showing the Death Rates prom all Causes per ioooo op the Population in Scotland and each op her 
counties since 1855. and also the per centace op zymotic and tubercular deaths to total deaths. 



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^EWsTpTtH^GRA^S^HOWING THE U>EATH KATES PROM ALL CAUSES PER IOOOO OP THE POPULATION IN SCOTLAND AND EACH OP HER 
COUNTIES SINCE 1855. AND ALSO THE PER CENTACE OP ZYMOTIC AND TUBERCULAR DEATHS TO TOTAL DEATHS. 




Series or Diagrams Showing the Death Rates from all Causes per 10.000 of the Population in Scotland and each op h^r 

COUNTIES SINCE 1855. AND ALSO THE PER CENTACE OP ZYMOTIC AND TUBERCULAR DEATHS TO TOTAL DEATHS. 




Series op Diagrams Showing the Death Rates from all Causes per 10.000 op the Population in Scotland and each op her 

COUNTIES SINCE 1855. AND ALSO THE PER CENTACE OP ZYMOTIC AND TUBERCULAR DEATHS TO TOTAL DEATHS. 

TJBBLE Showing the R if e rape Mortality and Death Rates 
in the Count/es for two Septennial* /8SS~6/ $/882~88. 

/855T0186I 1 882 To 1888 




5coCland 



131- II* 
158 L5 
IL628 

IL7/L 
IL9 28 
151-71 



Selkirk. 

Orkney 
Shetland 
Caithness 
Beetles 

Berwick 

MtCmniartj\l52-^t 
liultuiess \ 155-57 

Kincardine \ 155- LZ 
Sutherland . 15757 

. Irayle , 16/ 
EkiiL :I6L 
Kinross /6L56 
Ban//. * 168-85 

C/ackmanu\/7L7l 

JludduiglonJlllL 
Roxburgh J77-L2 



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tip 
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Li/dtfligw 
Da m/ries 
Path .. 
Stirling, 

Dumhuitoii 
■ ij/r 

Io/f(L2L _ 
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Rents 



177-71 
179 -IL 
179 57 



182 
182 LZ 
190 
190-71 
200 
20/86 
20571 
211 

.226-7/ 
22828 
260 -86 



I.a/iarlC- 265-86 



21 57 

,11 L3 
,10 57 

18 
.,17 U 

16 28 
JL-86 

ILIL 

19 

9 57 

IL 28 

IL 57 

15 28 

n 

16-7/ 
19 
19 LZ 

16 L 
.21 

15 IL 
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19 7/ 
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\I6 -71 
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25-86 



J '92 85 



16 
1.3 

11-71 
15 

12 57 
12 71 

10 L2 

11 L2 
15 I L 
ILIL 
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IL 
12: L2 

12 26 

15 85 
12- 1 L 
1586 

16 LZ 
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13 85 
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17 57. 



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15/68:86 J 7 67 
11/70-12 9 57 
16/70 6 3/ 
9 I6L/L .// 36 
22/76 13 78 
6/58-28. 9A- 
2Q/7L-57/0 8L 
23178-7/ 7 L7 
191/73-7/ 10 8 L 
UI65-IL.J1I 
21/75 71 . 7 8 
IL/6.6 86:/2:LL. 
16 /89L5. 16.77. 
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181/73 3 8L0 
25/7986 13 33 
5 205:85 10 75 
2LI79-3 IL66 
27/90-57:13/ 
3/1,195 L3 1201 
2^/92 57/33/ 
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13/6 ILL8 



13 15 
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6/1 

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ARCHITECT, 95 BATH ST 



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TABLE Showing the Pof>uLation>MoTtali^f Per 10.000 ■- and Death Rate perCent from Zymotic} Tubercular Disease in Scotland f her Counties from 1855 TO 1888. 




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THE POSTION OF SCOTLAND WITH REGARD TO 
CENTRAL SANITARY ADMINISTRATION. 



Gentlemen, — I am privileged in again addressing you as the 
President of our Association. From my heart I thank you for 
the high honour you have done me, and for the consideration and 
forbearance you have shown me during what I am afraid I must 
term my unworthy reign. I have to congratulate the Association 
on the appointment of Dr. Eben. Duncan as the succeeding 
President. That he will materially aid us to " advance our 
standards," and "set upon our foes," I have every confidence, and 
I am sure he will shed clear and new lights on sanitation, and 
show us " so many worlds, so much to do, so little done, such 
things to be." 

I will to-day occupy your time for a few minutes with some 
thoughts on the position of central sanitary administration in 
Scotland, and endeavour to show the necessity for a reorganised 
central sanitary bureau having more satisfactory powers than our 
Board of Supervision at present possesses for dealing with careless 
authorities. I will leave to abler men the expounding of the 
deeper things of the future. 

Nothing is more alluring to the speculative mind than to cast 
itself loose from the fixtures of the present, and, forgetting for 
the time the history of human failure, to conjure up in imagination 
a new moral and physical world, wherein the multiplex operations 
of nature's laws proceed along ideal lines uncomplicated by human 
offences. That such intellectual gymnastics serve a high and 

A 



2 THE POSITION OF SCOTLAND WITH REGARD TO 

valuable purpose I do not doubt, but I will content myself on a 
lower plane with lessons less recondite, but perhaps as useful. 
Last year I had the privilege of endeavouring to spread before 
you a panorama of the past. It exhibited Scotland in three 
aspects since her hygienic infancy. Thirty-six years have gone 
since 1855 — years of effort, and pain, and much crying in vain, 
yet, withal, years of gradual advance in the saving of life and in 
the alleviation of distresses. 

Still, I do not think our hygienic day is advanced much beyond 
the dawn. From the Stygian darkness of 1847, when (by the 
orders of the newly established Board of Health) pots of pitch 
and tar were lighted in every street and close — a vain burnt 
offering to the cholera fiend — down to the present is a period of 
forty-four years. Are we now in the broad day looking back 
upon the nightmares of these ignorant times, or are we still 
working and longing for the sunshine 1 In some senses we are 
both. The civilised world is now full of light as to the causal 
relations between physical pollution and physical maladies. All 
educated men and women are in this light, but its play is inter- 
rupted by so much overshadowing cloud that even to those with 
the clearest vision " life's chequered paths of joy and woe " are 
far from sure or safe. The highest and dearest of our nation, 
girt with all that tends to make life happy and secure, are struck 
down by zymotic disease. From the presence of the throne itself 
comes the bitter cry — "if preventable, why not prevented." 
What answer have we to such a cry 1 The cry is a natural and a 
righteous one, and it must be answered. What prevents the full 
use to every man of the sanitary light we most indubitably now 
possess ? Why should the life progress of the best in the land be 
suddenly arrested, aye, even ended, by a preventable cause ? It is 
indeed a trite remark that individual ignorance, or carelessness, or 
selfishness is at the very bottom of most preventable disease. 
This well known truth were painful enough if, in its bearing on 
humanity, it implicated those only who were ignorant, careless, 
or selfish. But this is not so. The relationships of man are, 
hygienically, of the most intimate character. We all may not 
suffer for our brother man, but we all do suffer because of him. 
The selfish and careless landlord may destroy his tenants, the 
dairy farmer his milk consumers, the butcher his customers, and 



CENTRAL SANITARY ADMINISTRATION. 3 

the citizen his fellows, through some transgression of the hygienic 
laws of nature. 

The legislature has long ago recognised the ease with which the 
deadly gifts of disease are handed round and widely dispersed. 
Laws have accordingly been passed to repress and punish the two 
prime causes of nuisance — acts of selfishness and acts of careless- 
ness in the individual — and so far as they go, and where they 
have been put in force, they have rendered real service to life and 
comfort. 

Now, it has been said that "the common law itself is nothing 
else but reason " — that " reason is the life of the law." I think 
we may take this aphorism in regard to common law to apply in 
many sections of our sanitary law, but the aphorism entirely fails 
when the law's administration becomes the consideration. Where 
the law says, " Thou shalt not," the authorities often tacitly say, 
"Thou mayest;" and where it says "Thou shalt," they not 
infrequently say, " We may not." All have access to the benefits 
of common law, although even here it often proves " a sort of 
hocus-pocus science that smiles in yer face while it picks yer 
pockets." Yet one virtue of the common law is its independence 
of Local Authorities. Every citizen has individual rights, and is 
sheltered under its regis. He can demand and instantly obtain 
its protection, although sometimes, in suing for his coat, he may 
unfortunately lose his waistcoat also. It is also true that the 
statutory public health law fails, in great measure, as a preventa- 
tive of disease, in the may he character of some of its sections, 
and in the fact that there is too much voluntaryism surrounding 
its administration. The evils of extreme decentralisation are 
acutely apparent in almost every small town and village in the 
kingdom. If proof of this is required, we have only to peruse 
the reports of the Local Government Board Inspectors with 
regard to England, and our county officers' reports lately issued 
for Scotland. They are sad repetitions of the oft-told stories of 
contaminated water supplies, stagnating sewers, leaky house 
drains, damp dreary dwellings, dangerous dungsteacls, want of 
hospitals, want of disinfecting machinery — in short, a compendious 
list of all the armoury of disease ; and, in the midst of all, our 
good Prince standing and crying in the name of the nation at our 
National Hygienic Festival — " Why not prevented 1 " Gentlemen, 



4 THE POSITION OF SCOTLAND WITH REGARD TO 

that cry should be taken up, and it should be amplified and 
reiterated until ultimate, but direct, responsibility for the public 
health is placed in Imperial hands, and Bumbledom is forced to 
do its duty or disappear. 

I make bold to say that most of our present unsoundness is the 
direct result of a too minute Hygienic Home Rule. Does this 
assertion seem strange? Is not this minute and independent respon- 
sibility one of the first principles of modern progress 1 Has not 
Herbert Spencer railed at our grandmotherly legislation, and urged 
the beauty of encouraging more and more the freedom and responsi- 
bility of the individual 1 Yes. Let us grant to the fullest extent 
the beauty of individual progression in knowledge and in good, 
but let us face the fact fearlessly that, for the administration of 
sanitary legislation, what amounts practically to a full autonomy 
in the hands of an unwilling, careless, or impecunious Local 
Authority, is a delusion and a snare. The history of sanitation 
in the hands of many past Local Authorities is summed up in 
the words of Macintosh — "Faithful to their system, they 
remained in a wise (?) and masterly inactivity — a disciplined 
inaction." 

The Royal Sanitary Commission which in 1869 sat under the 
Presidency of Sir Charles Adderley, after hearing the most 
extensive and varied evidence that the country could produce, 
issued an exhaustive report in which these pregnant words occur : 
" Some external pressure and vigilance is, especially in rural 
districts, necessary to force loccd sanitary authorities into action." 
" It cannot be allowed that the health and strength of 
the people should suffer by their inaction." Every individual 
man-jack of such burghal and parochial bodies doubtless was proud 
to be a humble citizen of Britain, and rejoiced to think it " an 
empire on which the sun never sets ; " but, on the other hand, he 
seemed to be continually haunted by the fear that it might 
become, through his action, one in which the tax-gatherer never 
goes to bed. I speak, of course, very much in the past tense, 
but the dread of that bogey-man, the tax-collector, is not past. 
It is fear of this functionary that prints in large letters the 
word " retrenchment " on the bills of some popular county and 
municipal candidates. The word "reform" is also "writ large" 
on their bills — a "cat-call" to catch the unthinking and unwary. 



CENTRAL SANITARY ADMINISTRATION. 5 

Gentlemen, it is difficult for sanitarians to seriously impress 
the unthinking with the importance of our work, but the meanest 
intellect understands the full import of a drain on his pocket. A 
drain to his dwelling is a different matter. In the City of 
Glasgow, where, perhaps, sanitary light and literature have been 
spread as liberally as anywhere, I know proprietors quite willing 
to live over open drain pipes rather than spend a few pounds to 
put them right. These are types of many throughout the 
country. If these, and such like, were the only martyrs in the 
great cause of retrenchment, little could be said. The theory of 
the " survival of the fittest " would soon work out a positive 
proof of its truthfulness upon them ; but, as I said before, they 
are not the only sufferers, nor can it ever be so. Now, it cannot 
be denied that there are many governing corporate bodies, both 
here and in England, who are mere counterparts of such 
individuals. Set up to fulfil the law and give health and 
comfort to the people, such bodies miserably fail in both. The 
phrase, "A people's health is a people's wealth," is in their 
hands only a " sanctimonious theory," and they relegate to the 
inferno of faddists the enthusiasts who seek to put the theory 
in practice. 

I am not here publicly going to name any of the local author- 
ities which have so abused their power and privileges. Some of 
them are to be found in the Supplement to the Twentieth Annual 
Report of the Local Government Board, from page 41 to 156, 
and, so far as Scotland is concerned, in the various important 
reports lately issued by the medical and sanitary officers of the 
county and district councils. 

In the former report matters are not minced by the various 
gentlemen who were sent to investigate into the prevalence of 
infectious diseases in the many localities they report upon. The 
attitude of their minds towards defaulting authorities is well 
expressed by Dr. Blaxall on page 55. Here he says — " The 
vacillation and incompetence of local administration deserve to 
be shown." This sentiment is well supplemented by a remark 
in Mr. Watson's report to the County Council of Aberdeen, 
to this effect : — " Local authorities should perform their own 
duty before calling upon owners of property to do theirs." Any 
one who takes the trouble to read the reports of the county 

A 2 



G THE POSITION OF SCOTLAND WITH REGARD TO 

council officers in Scotland, is struck with the wonderful 
unanimity in them all with respect to the insufficiency of pure 
wholesome water to drink, the want of hospitals and disinfecting 
apparatus, the absence of any provision for scavenging, and the 
damp and unventilated state of the artizans' houses. All this 
is light with a vengeance. Verily, 

' ' A light to guide, a rod 
To check the erring, and reprove." 

Now, how do we stand in Scotland, as compared with our sister 
country of England, as to the means of utilising this light, as to 
the means of checking the erring and applying the necessary 
reproofs? In 1869, when the Royal Sanitary Commission sat, 
England was, in respect of checking the erring, much in the 
position of Scotland in 1892. 

The evidence of the Secretary of the Local Government Act 
Office, Tom Taylor, Esq., on the powers of the central authority 
over local bodies, was of immense benefit to English sanitation then. 

Asked by the Chairman — " What is the inspecting power 
which you wish to have?" Mr. Taylor replied — "The power 
of examining into the working of the Acts, systematically and 
regularly, and of seeing that the Act is carried out, and how 
it is working ; of seeing that the Local Authorities are doing 
their duty, and what is the effect of their execution of their duty 
on the health, or comfort, or improvement of the district." 
Further asked, " Would you, then, be in favour of having 
inspectors who, without any local complaint, should be continually 
making a circuit of the country ? " he said, " I think something 
of that sort is wanted." Let us now glance for a moment, first, 
at the machinery within the reach of the two countries for 
impressing sad sanitary deficiencies upon the attention of the 
Government authorities ; and, second, at the comparative powers 
of these high authorities to deal with vacillating and refractory 
local administrations. 

In England, as you all know, the Local Government Board 
controls public health administration; in Scotland, the Board 
of Supervision. At the head of the English Department there 
is a right honourable gentleman, a member of the Government 
with a seat in the House of Commons. At the head of the 



CENTRAL SANITARY ADMINISTRATION. 7 

Board of Supervision there is an excellent chairman, but not 
immediately connected with the Government, and with no position 
in the Representative House. 

On the staff of the English Department there are two principal 
secretaries, one of whom has a seat in Parliament, and eleven 
under and private secretaries, three of whom have seats in the 
House. The Scotch Department has one secretary, with no voice 
in Parliament. 

The English Board has a most efficient staff of twelve medical 
inspectors, one engineering inspector, and the services of an 
expert in bacteriology. The Scottish Board has four inspecting 
officers under the Public Health Acts, whose powers in this 
direction are heavily handicapped by having imposed upon them 
the general superintendence of the relief of the poor. It has also 
part of the services of a medical officer at a cost of £200 per 
annum, which miserable £200 had actually to be screwed out 
of the then Lords of the Treasury by the continued application 
of the Board. It will be seen at once that the supervising 
service in Scotland is atomic, both in respect of influence, numbers, 
and capacity for public health work, compared with that in her 
more populous and wealthy neighbour. 

It is true that Scotland is financially a much poorer country 
than England, contributing, as she does, only about 11 per cent 
of the total monies devoted to Local Government services, yet 
I am not satisfied that her individual citizens are obtaining even 
comparative justice, from the present state of things, in this 
particular matter of public health State administration. 

Let us look for a moment at the proportion of revenue which, 
for 1891-92, it is estimated will be expended in England, Scot- 
land, and Ireland for Local Government purposes — England, 
£6,068,000; Scotland, £731,000; and Ireland, £344,000. The 
estimated revenues for these purposes to be drawn from each 
country are— England, £6,186,000; Scotland, £703,000; Ireland, 
254,000. Thus, of the £118,000 which England can spare, 
Scotland gets £28,000, and Ireland £90,000. In the year 
1889-90 the Board of Supervision, with all the duties of Local 
Goverment upon it, received £29,374, while in the same year 
the Irish Local Government Board received £124,997. Can 
those figures be construed by the representatives of the Emerald 



8 THE POSITION OF SCOTLAND AVITH REGARD TO 

Isle as "another injustice to Ireland?" Just look with me at 
another side of the picture — viz., the total revenue contributed 
by the three kingdoms per head of the population. For the 
year 1891-92 it is estimated to be (taking the population as 
at the census of 1891) — -England, £2, 13s. 6d. ; Scotland, 
£2, lis. 5d. ; and Ireland, £1, 13s. 6d. 

Here we find each person in Scotland contributing only 2s. Id. 
per annum of revenue less than each person in England, and 
17s. lid. more than each person in Ireland, and yet she receives 
for the upkeep of her Local Government Board £130,112 per 
annum less than the English, and £95,623 per annum less than 
the Irish Local Government Board. In other words, our Irish 
friends pay in, per head, 35 per cent less for Local Government 
purposes than we do, and receive from the exchequer 325 per 
cent more on behalf of their administrative Board than Scotland 
does. 

Gentlemen, these facts and figures speak for themselves, and 
it is for our Scotch Members of Parliament to ascertain as to 
the why and wherefore thereof. It is notorious that Scotland 
wants, and deserves, more influential and efficient machinery 
than she has had in the past for Local Government, and particu- 
larly for Public Health purposes, and her individual citizens are 
entitled to participate in the benefits of such machinery in direct 
proportion, not to the total sum she with her small population 
is able to subscribe towards the total revenue, but to the com- 
parative sum per head she pays into the Exchequer. If this 
means she must abandon " home rule " theories, then let her 
abandon them rather than lose the value of a well organised and 
thoroughly equipped and efficient State health administration. 
If she cannot, from poverty, have an influential and properly 
equipped Local Government Board of her own, let her have a 
Board so affiliated to the English Local Government Board, or 
to some future State Health Department, as will secure to her 
the undivided services of experts in hygiene and sanitary 
engineering. It has been fashionable in some circles of late 
to cast cheap sneers at our Board of Supervision. For my part, 
I have to express my astonishment that the Board has in any 
measure got through the enormous work it required to face, with 
the very limited staff at its command and the financial resources 



CENTRAL SANITARY ADMINISTRATION. 9 

placed at its disposal. In criticising the work and progress of 
the Board of Supervision, we must not lose sight of these facts. 

" The mournful truth is everywhere confessed, 
Slow rises worth by poverty depressed." 

But there are other reasons which have tended to destroy the 
usefulness and to bar the progress of our Board as a State 
institution working for the health of Scotland. This brings 
me to a brief consideration of the second comparison — viz., the 
powers of the Health Boards of the two countries to deal with 
vacillating and refractory local administrations. 

The English Public Health Act, in Sections 299 to 302, gives 
power to the Local Government Board, after due enquiry, to 
order any negligent local authority to enter forthwith upon the 
work it requires done. If this order is not complied with, the 
Board may appoint a person having all the powers of the said 
local authority to carry out the necessary work, the expenses 
for such work being recoverable from the local authority in the 
law courts, in the form of a rate imposed on the ratepayers, 
and said rate may be collected by any person appointed by the 
Board. The Board have also power to borrow money for all 
such purposes from the Public Works Commissioners, and enforce 
the repayment of such borrowed capital by the local authority. 

This looks a big power to possess ; but since 1875 Parliament 
has again and again affirmed the soundness of this method of 
compulsion, and has put in the hands of local authorities 
themselves the same power against private individuals who 
refuse to obey their orders and remove nuisances. Let us now 
see the position of the Board of Supervision as a compulsitor 
on local authorities ! Its position and powers in this respect 
are dealt with in Section 96, 97, and 98 of the Public Health 
(Scotland) Act. In each of these clauses of the statute the 
Board is hemmed in by an appeal to the law courts. It cannot, 
like the English Board, relieve the sufferers of flagrant neglect 
by immediately causing the necessary work to be proceeded with 
if its orders are disobeyed. 

We are informed by the late Secretary of the Board, now the 
chairman, Dr. Skelton, that " the Board have in several instances 
made application to the court to compel a Local Authority to 



10 THE POSITION OF SCOTLAND WITH KEGARD TO 

perform their duty under the Act," but he also informs us " the 
Board take proceedings only in cases of considerable public 
importance, and where the evidence is fairly conclusive." I am 
not surprised at this attitude of the Board with respect to very 
many well grounded complaints, which cannot be said to be of 
" considerable public importance." That the Central Government 
Board in Scotland have to appear before a sheriff or a judge of the 
Court of Session, and show causes after the usual tedious, onerous, 
and expensive fashion, why certain necessary operations should 
be commenced by a health authority in pursuance of their duty, 
is to my mind ridiculous. At all events it is, as compared with 
English powers, an anachronism. Any two householders or sanitary 
inspector in Scotland is vested with similar powers, and the infer- 
ence of course can be drawn that the Board of Supervision may 
be as arbitrary and unjust in their requirements as either of 
those. I cannot think there is the slightest possibility of this, 
and it is to be hoped that very soon the powers possessed by the 
Local Government Board shall be extended to the Scottish Board. 
We cannot rest content until our Board has equivalent powers, 
and along with those powers administrative machinery sufficient 
to fully utilise them. 

Compulsion upon the people's elected representatives does not 
sound well, but we must remember compulsion upon the poorest 
in the land sounded as badly a century ago. The famous Earl of 
Chatham more than a hundred years ago, in the House of 
Commons, uttered this sentence — " The poorest man may in his 
cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be 
frail ; its roof may shake ; the wind may blow through it ; the 
showers may enter, the rain may enter, but the king of England 
cannot enter ! All his forces dare not cross the threshold of the 
ruined tenement." But the exigencies of advancing civilisation 
have wonderfully modified the extreme rights of the individual. 
The occupant of the ruined tenement may still be safe from the 
entry of the queen of the United Kingdom, but a " chiel," in the 
form of a sanitary inspector, may be found at any moment 
quietly taking " notes " between his but and his ben, for the 
purpose of ejecting him and his family for their own good. It 
has occurred to me that the ejectment of a few Local Authorities 
would be a good thing. It is a pity that " the frivolous work of 



CENTRAL SANITARY ADMINISTRATION. 11 

polished idleness " should be punished by inflicting upon may be 
innocent ratepayers the extra burden of legal expenses, and the 
extra cost of necessary works carried out under outside pressure 
by an independent authority. 

If a refractory Local Authority persisted in refusing to do such 
things as were legally necessary for the health and comfort of 
their people, it seems to me a reasonable course for Government 
to disqualify and disband such authority, and order a fresh 
election of commissioners. If the new body were equally inert 
the community could be justly held responsible and be fined 
accordingly. Infectious and communicable diseases we may 
always have as our enemies ; but to reduce their virulence on the 
people at large — to prevent them to an appreciable extent — 
Government must be prepared to deal, patiently, perhaps, but 
very firmly and stringently, with those local bodies which imagine 
that in warring against disease it is best to carry out a Fabian 
policy. 

It is useless making laws which the managers will not exercise. 
When those in office come to feel that their full duty must be 
clone, much money will be spent— but much preventable disease 
will be prevented. It is after all, in many instances, very much 
a question of expenditure in one of two forms — the one of money, 
the other of vitality. We sanitarians cry, with Tennyson — 

" Ring out old shapes of foul disease, 
Ring in the thousand years of peace." 

We are constantly in our arguments caring less for the wealth 
of a community than for its health, believing, as we do, that the 
latter involves the former. The old challenge of the highwayman, 
" Your money or your life," is very much the cry of modern 
sanitation. 

Spend money on healthy homes, good water, effective drainage, 
hospital accommodation, and an efficient sanitary service, and 
life is sweetened and prolonged. Save money and do without 
those things, and disease, always lurking, ready to spring, has 
every chance to attack and spread. Let me say, in closing, not- 
withstanding her comparative poverty — notwithstanding her 
administrative weakness — notwithstanding her legal disabilities, 
Scotland can show great advance in practical hygiene. But we 



12 CENTRAL SANITARY ADMINISTRATION. 

dare not rest. The future must also be advancement, or our 
future king will have cried in vain, " Why not prevented 1 " 

In taking my leave of you as your president, I earnestly com- 
mend to your thoughtfulness and patriotism the sentiments I 
have now imperfectly expressed. It was Johnson who wrote 
"that the man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not 
gain force upon the plains of Marathon ; " but the host of Darius 
marching upon Athens is but an imperfect illustration of the 
forces upon Scottish soil working day by day under your very 
eyes for the disablement and destruction of Scotland's children. 
Silently, yet steadfastly and surely, the operations of these 
enemies proceed. But secured as we are now by the protection 
of our positions from the assaults of ignorance and adverse 
interest, the time has now come when our convictions may have 
fuller play, and our sympathies a freer expression. The health 
of our countrymen is our special care, and in no cause upon earth 
can our patriotism yield nobler service than that of promoting 
their happiness and prolonging their lives. 



GLASGOW : PRINTED BY ALEX. MACDOIGALL. 



[Reprinted from "The Sanitary Journal," July, 1894.] 



THE EDUCATION AND REGISTRATION 
OF SANITARY INSPECTORS.* 

To the Provost and Town Council of the important town 
of Alloa we are indebted for this opportunity afforded to 
the Sanitary Inspectors' Association of Scotland to meet in 
conference and discuss those problems which immediately 
concern the comfort, vigour, and health of the people. The 
time is propitious ; and with the time came the kind 
invitation from the capital of Clackmannanshire. 

Men of the highest culture are advocating a course of 
popularised sanitation in our schools as one of the best 
means of raising in the future wholesome and cleanly 
generations of men and women. No conception as to the 
best means of raising the health standard could in useful 
purpose compete with this one ; but meantime there are 
two barriers in the way of such a happy consummation. 
First, many of our schools, speaking generally, are object 
lessons of insanitation ; and, secondly, the new race of 
sanitary schoolmasters is not yet in existence. I do not 
propose to dilate upon the first barrier. We may hear the 
Gospel preached in a barn and profit thereby; but to 
profitably educate a child in the first principles and all- 
important character of good ventilation and pure air in a 
stuffy schoolroom is like lecturing a beggar on the value 
of wealth. Sanitary inspectors sometimes are requested to 
take up and spread from house to house the propaganda 
of cleanliness by those who forget that the capacity for 
cleanliness is dependent on many things in and around a 

* Read by Mr. Peter Fyfe, sanitary inspector, Glasgow, before the 
annual conference of the Sanitary Inspectors' Association of Scotland, held 
at Alloa, on 26th June, 1894. 



home — which things are often unattainable in the said 
home, and cannot be obtained by any legal process. 

Letting this pass, I wish to speak for a few minutes on 
the proposed new race of sanitary schoolmasters ; and, with 
every desire to accept the position, for the sanitary in- 
spectors of the country, of teachers to the children and 
the public of the new branch of science called " practical 
sanitation," I ask, who is to teach the teachers ? A certain 
writer once said : 

Souls to souls can never teach 
What unto themselves was taught. 

If I convert these lines into 

How can inspectors ever teach 

What they themselves were never taught ? 

the absurdity of the position becomes at once apparent. 
Yet that is the position of the men at the present day who 
are asked to inculcate into the minds of the people the 
elementary principles of health and the reasons for many 
sanitary requirements. 

I am far from saying that the school of experience 
through which all have passed and the self -culture which 
hundreds of sanitary inspectors have practised do not go 
a long way in fitting them for their responsible posts. 
I say the public — the kingdom — is astonishingly well 
served considering the meagre opportunities afforded for 
their education ; but I further say that in the last ten 
years sanitation has become so vital, its branches so 
numerous, and its application so minute, that the public 
have no justification in longer expecting the sanitary 
inspector " to grow " like Topsy. Until now the sanitary 
inspector has been the " Topsy " of sanitation. He has 
" growed." Some, nay, many of them have so far studied, 
or attended as they could the lectures which in some 
centres are delivered during the winter session, that they 
have passed a written examination on the subject, and can 
present a certificate of competency ; but such is, at the 
best, but a poor preparation for the position the law gives 
to the inspector, and in view of the expectations of the 



public as to his capacity in the rdle of sanitary teacher. 
We all know how the child can puzzle, by a simple direct 
question, the deepest theologian. So most sanitary in- 
spectors have been puzzled by a few questions put by a 
person whose greatest delight is to ask the reason for his 
every demand. Hardly a day passes in my own experience 
in Glasgow in which I am not catechised by some one on 
whom a notice has been served as to the whys and where- 
fores of the demands made therein. This attitude of the 
property-owning public and others on whom our notices 
are served is quite a reasonable one, as, in giving remedies 
for the abatement of various nuisances, we have no distinct 
definite law or bye-law to guide us or them. Hence we 
have to reasonably explain why we ask so-and-so to be 
done, the law being silent. . . . We must be ready, 
quick, and clear with our reply, or our demands will end 
in failure or litigation. Glaring nuisances, which common- 
sense at once marks out as dangerous, give little or no 
trouble, need no education to distinguish, and require no 
elucidation ; but many and various are the insidious 
enemies to health which only the carefully trained mind 
can detect and have removed by tact and explanation. 

I said at the beginning of my remarks that the time 
was opportune for our meeting. At the present time Sir 
Walter Foster, M.P., the head of the health department 
of the English Local Government Board, has under 
his consideration a comprehensive scheme for the proper 
examination of persons who aspire to be sanitary public 
servants. The Sanitary Institute of England lately applied 
for a royal charter which, if granted, would practically 
have had the effect of placing that body, with regard to 
the education and examination of future sanitary inspectors, 
in a monopolising position far from desirable. It was 
opposed by other bodies of sanitarians and was defeated ; 
and now Sir Walter is trying to scheme out a plan whereby 
the public will be guaranteed in a thorough and com- 
prehensive examination uniform over the whole country. 
It will at once be apprehended that, if a national Board of 
Examiners be appointed and recognised by the Government, 



an end will be put to various bodies of men, associating 
under high sounding titles, holding irresponsible examina- 
tions, and passing any candidates as may seem to them fit to 
occupy the important position of sanitary inspector. There 
is a great danger in such opposing sanitary organisations 
being allowed to grant certificates of competency. Even in 
University diplomas we had a sad example a year or two 
ago in Glasgow. There the University examination for 
the diploma of D.P.H. became so lax that the General 
Medical Council had to step in and reform the whole 
procedure in connection with this degree at that University. 
Naturally candidates will flock to that body which is most 
notorious for an easy pass. If competition in simplicity of 
subjects begins, all guarantee to the public is lost. This 
association has requested Sir Walter Foster to admit repre- 
sentations from it to the committee which will discuss the 
scheme when drafted, but up to the present no satisfactory 
reply has been received. The Sanitary Inspectors' Associa- 
tion of England, consisting of over a thousand members, also 
petitioned to be represented, but for some unexplained reason 
they were refused; and at their late annual conference, held 
under the auspices of the Mayor and Town Council of 
Nottingham, an important resolution was passed expressing 
regret at the action of the representative of the Government. 
Now, gentlemen, what does all this portend ? It means 
want of influence — want of power to have yourselves and 
your requests acknowledged in a suitable manner at 
head-quarters. The old aphorism comes home to us when 
we cogitate on these things, viz., knowledge is power. To 
obtain knowledge, adequate education is absolutely essential, 
and systematised education means the establishment of 
technical colleges throughout the country, with trained 
teachers and appliances, at moderate charges for the course. 
It means, in the second place, a unification of all sanitary 
inspectors' organisations, so arranged and legalised that the 
people will be safeguarded against the introduction to the 
public service of incompetent persons, and so that all local 
authorities may be assisted in a choice and approved 
selection from candidates who may present themselves for 



the vacant sanitary inspectorships. I will deal with this 
question later on. Meantime let us consider what kind of 
education a prospective sanitary inspector requires. 

In all circles of society, except the lowest, a young 
inexperienced medical practitioner is looked upon more or 
less as an experimenter on the human system both as 
regards medicine and surgery. The poor cannot help 
themselves, so the medical apprentice usually begins upon 
them, and through alternating successes and blunders he 
acquires the knowledge no university can bestow. But 
mentally abstract from our young doctor his university 
training, and place him amongst the people to learn his 
business coincident with the acquiring of his theory, and 
you have a prototype of the sanitary inspector of the past- 
He came from his bench, or his soldering bolt, or his trowel, 
and was launched upon a helpless public a full-blown 
sanitary official. To-day is not so utterly bad as yesterday. 
Examinations of a rudimentary type are held. No enquiry 
is made as to where or how present candidates have got 
crammed for the occasion. If by diligent reading at home, 
or by the coaching of a private teacher, or by attendance 
upon special classes and lectures, it matters not; be he a 
railway porter, an unemployed schoolmaster, or a bankrupt 
grocer, he is eligible for a pass, if he can answer satis- 
factorily eight or ten written questions and stand an oral 
examination — " satisfactorily " meaning usually the ob- 
taining of fifty marks out of a hundred. This is the 
present position. Now, my contention is that this is not a 
satisfactory state of matters, either to the public or to 
the vocation. 

Let us take up a few subjects upon which a satisfactory 
public officer ought to be well educated, looking to the 
requirements of the Local Govenment Board of England 
and the Board of Supervision in Scotland. 

First. He is required to report both to his own Local 
Authority and to the Central Board as to the work done 
and requiring to be done within his district. Therefore he 
ought to be able to properly write the English language. 
At present there is no examination on this point. 



6 

Second. He is required to work specific laws and bye- 
laws of a most extensive and ramified character, and ought 
to understand exactly how far these laws can support him 
in every-day practice. There is no special education 
provided for him here, and the. examinations on this large 
subject are and have been of the most perfunctory character. 

Third. He is required to note all defects in sewerage, 
drainage, and plumber work, want of adequate ventilation, 
defective or contaminated water supplies, and generally the 
host of items which, in and around buildings of all kinds, 
come under the comprehensive term " nuisances," and point 
out the best way of effecting a remedy that will yield 
absolute security to the public. All this alone requires a 
systematic training, accompanied by practical illustrations, 
which is not generally available, and here again past 
examinations have but touched the fringe of the hundred 
and one subjects involved. 

Fourth. He is empowered to inspect and seize diseased 
or unwholesome meat of whatever kind. For this vital 
duty he has no training and but little theoretical know- 
ledge, and until he has been in actual harness for some 
years the public may, so far as the untried inspector is 
concerned, eat anything from measly pork to the carcase 
saturated with anthrax poison. 

I could go on, but I forbear. The time is surely ripe for 
a sweeping change. The education of the eyes which are 
employed by the people to peer into the conditions which 
environ civilized life and detect and eliminate by means of 
a cultivated intelligence everything which is baleful to 
health is manifestly imperfect. And it would pay the 
country to help in the proper education of the future 
sanitary inspectors. It would pay in health and it would 
pay in pocket. 

If the inspector has not the confidence of his board and 
the people generally, both the board and the people will be 
out of pocket. Litigation, perhaps the most expensive 
luxury of our times, will be one of the results, and unsafe 
compromise will on many occasions follow upon litigation. 
I plead therefore for public support to insure a first-class 



special education for the coming race of sanitary officers. 
Let them be well armed with a knowledge of their business 
and I will guarantee to the central Government, to Local 
Authorities, and to the people alike, a saving both in health 
and public funds. Now, who is to have the direction of 
such an educational movement, and what are the best 
means to adopt in establishing in all our technical colleges 
a system of complete instruction in practical sanitation ? 

In looking over the Calendar of our excellent Glasgow 
and West of Scotland Technical College, I find that sani- 
tation has no place in its day instruction, and consequently 
up to the present day there is no recognition of sanitation 
as an applied science nor any diploma offered to students 
who might wish to study it. Turning to the evening 
classes, I find there are fourteen subjects put down as 
deserving of acknowledgment and in which the award 
of a certificate is offered to successful students. I am 
going to name these latter as they appear on page 102 of 
the Calendar, so that you may judge how many of them 
are more important in the public interest than applied 
sanitation : mathematics and physics, chemistry, mechanical 
engineering, naval architecture, electrical engineering, 
architecture, building construction, mining, metallurgy, 
agriculture, chemical industries, textile industries, art 
industries, commerce. Looking on further, I find sanitation 
occupies the fourth place under the heading " building 
construction," which includes for a certificate a pass in 
(1) carpentry and joinery, (2) brickwork and masonry, 
(3) plumbing, and (4) sanitation. 

Let me analyse a little, and try to ascertain how far the 
associated subjects of "carpentry and joinery, brickwork 
and masonry, and plumbing," as explained in the syllabus 
under these headings, are essential to a sanitary inspector. 
Recollect, failure to answer satisfactorily technical questions 
in any of these three would debar any purely sanitation 
student from an honours certificate. Under the first, the 
embryo sanitary inspector may be examined in bonds in 
brickwork and arches, the construction and details of 
timber and iron roofs up to 60 ft. span, on the various 



methods of laying tiles, corrugated iron, sheet lead, zinc, 
copper on roofs, on built-up beams, girders, curved ribs, 
and the construction of travellers, on bricklayers' and 
masons' scaffolding, on riveting, formation of stairs, fire- 
proof floors, the making of cornices, arrises, and a host of 
other constructive details most useful to a builder, but 
useless from a public health point of view. Under the 
second, we have methods of seasoning and preserving wood, 
natures and properties of various woods, bevels, setting out 
rods, newel and geometrical stairs, hinges, centring for 
elliptical, parabolic, and pointed arches, groining, and other 
details of carpentry which have as much bearing on sanitary 
work as theology has on the practice of medicine. Even 
under the third heading, viz., plumbing, which is so closely 
allied to practical hygiene, the poor sanitary student has to 
grind up such subjects as solders and soldering, fluxes and 
soldering fluids, soldering bits, blowpipe work, brazing, the 
tools used in plumber work, their forms and uses, &c. ; 
geometry as applied to plumbing, cutting out sheet lead, 
hot-water circulation and heating by steam, &c, all 
most desirable things to know, but not what a future 
sanitary inspector needs to know, and what, if known, he 
can never, as a health official, usefully apply in pursuance 
of his duty under the sanitary Acts of Parliament. Then, 
what ought to be taught he is not taught. I give you 
a few subjects he urgently needs but does not receive 
instruction in — infectious diseases, their recognition, course, 
and hygienic treatment; disinfection in all its phases, both in 
theory and in practice; the composition of all unadulterated 
foods and drugs ; the characteristics of diseased and un- 
wholesome carcases, meat, and food ; the chemical testing 
of water for impurities ; the distinctive diseases in cows 
and cattle generally ; practical training in drain-testing 
and the use of the anemometer, thermometer, hydrometer, 
and lactometer ; byres and farm sanitation and construction ; 
air in its relation to health ; smoke and its prevention ; and 
a comprehensive knowledge of all existing sanitary law 
from the Public Health Act down to the Shop Hours Act 
passed last year. Sanitation is now a vast subject, and it 



9 

is alike unfair to sanitary students and to the people that 
it should any longer be tailed on to the technicalities of 
trades with which it has alliance only in their broader 
aspects. 

Now, gentlemen, by what means are our future officials 
to be prepared for their work, and who is to shape the 
destiny of the vocation ? It is obvious, from the interest 
taken in the matter of their examination by Sir Walter 
Foster that the Government has become alive to the 
present unsatisfactory state of affairs. What will be the 
outcome of the deliberations of the various delegates he has 
called together we cannot tell ; all we know at present is : 
first, that consideration is being given to this important 
public question, and second, that the Associations of the 
Chief Sanitary Inspectors in England and Scotland have 
been debarred by Sir Walter Foster from sending any 
representatives to the conference which has been called 
to consider those things which most deeply affect them 
and those who are to come after them. 

This leads me to the second part of my subject, viz., the 
registration of sanitary inspectors. I do not admit, of 
course, that, although the sanitary inspectors of the kingdom 
are not yet legally banded together into a strong and con- 
crete body, they are not entitled to some representation on 
a committee gathered together to discuss their work, their 
education, and the examinations which in time to come are 
to regulate their supply to the various local authorities 
requiring such service. Many are the men presently in 
the vocation whose opinion and advice would be of advan- 
tage to any body of enquirers. Yet, it must be admitted, 
we at the present time experience a want of cohesion and 
consolidation. We also want funds in order to assist in 
establishing technical schools and lectures in practical 
sanitary work all over the country. We want legal status 
in order to be able to maintain adequate discipline among 
the various members. We need power to establish a register 
and prevent any man from palming himself off on the 
public and on their elected representatives as a qualified 
sanitary inspector. This is a power, which for a con* 



10 

siderable period now, has been possessed by the medical 
profession. There are quack doctors who are known to 
be quacks because their names are not on the medical 
register, and they are under legal penalties if they use 
distinctive letters after their names to deceive the public, 
and justly so in the public interest. No man is allowed 
to establish himself as a medical practitioner until he 
is legally licensed to do so. Are the public not requiring 
protection from quack sanitary inspectors ? Most decidedly 
they are, says the critic, and they surely will obtain skilled 
service when the Government establishes a universal and 
equal examination of men who desire to enter the pro- 
fession. Let us examine this belief for a moment and 
see if there is good ground for it. The first point to be 
considered is, will the Government undertake the establish- 
ment of a complete technical education of those who are 
to come up for examination ? If not, who will ? If 
nobody will undertake to make the tuition systematic 
and thorough, on what can the Government or any one 
else base a safe-guarding examination ? Can they do it 
with satisfaction on a basis of private tuition ? I say 
they cannot. To do so would only keep open the door for 
the advertising and omnipotent sanitary crammer. Can 
they do it with satisfaction on the basis of attendance 
upon a series of one session's lectures at the Sanitary 
Institute or any other Institute ? Again I urge the 
impossibility of the task. Can they do it upon the 
basis of three or four sessions of night tuition under 
special teachers, coupled with a series of practical demon- 
strations in all branches of the subject each session ? I 
believe they could, especially if the student be trained 
in one or other of the building trades or in civil engineering. 
Examinations based on such tuition would be real and 
worth the energy and time spent upon them, and the 
people would be assured in the services of capable and 
intelligent men. There is a well-known saying, " Heaven 
helps them who help themselves." Governments are in 
this respect something like Heaven. They help associa- 
tions of individuals who earnestly are banded together 



11 

in a cause which is for the good of the common-wealth; 
and no cause within the confines of civilized life is more 
likely to bring help to any body of men than the cause 
of the common good. 

If the Government sees no united effort being put forth 
by the great body of sanitary inspectors throughout the 
kingdom to band themselves together in the cause of the 
education and training of the men who are to succeed 
them, and generally no vital interest being taken in the 
establishment of training schools and technical appliances 
to deal with the practical side of public health, such 
Government naturally concludes that sanitary inspectors 
are not yet capable of helping themselves, and as naturally 
are inclined to take the opinions as to their needs, advance- 
ment, and status from such bodies as the " Sanitary 
Institute " and that newer godfather the " British Institute 
of Public Health." 

Gentlemen, these are the days of corporate effort. 
Hitherto there has been too much of individualism among 
sanitary inspectors. Kept hard at it, and usually paid a 
salary barely sufficient to make ends meet, they have had 
little time and less cash to spend upon corporate existence. 
But I feel convinced that the period of the old five pounders 
has passed away. At our great meeting last year with our 
English brothers in Glasgow we had prescience of a brighter 
day. We saw a great city's welcome to the representatives 
of the English and Scottish inspectors, and to-day we behold 
our Scottish Association heartily received by one of 
Scotland's oldest and worthiest burghs. Our associate life 
has begun. Shortly I fully hope we shall be embraced in 
an honourable and close union with the Sanitary Inspectors' 
Association of England, composed of considerably over one 
thousand officers. When that day arrives, and when each 
inspector worthy of his position and name joins the ranks, 
when funds are procured, and when by sedulous untiring 
work we become strong and united, it will be, I anticipate, 
an easy matter to convince the Legislature that the public 
interest is so indissolubly bound up in the education, worth, 
and status of sanitary inspectors that an Act of registration 
for them will be passed. 



12 

Now, what, inter alia, would an Act of registration do 
for sanitary inspectors and for the people who employ them ? 
First of all, let me explain very briefly what is meant by an 
Act of registration. The words "sanitary inspector," or, in 
former days, " inspector of nuisances," were legal words 
used in the Public Health Acts to mean an individual 
employed by any local authority to act in that capacity. 
But the Public Health Acts in no way define what kind of 
person this public official is to be. For all it says on the 
subject the office might be held by a woman ; and, I regret 
to say, in certain burghs, where I have happened to sojourn, 
I have heard displeased ratepayers use most opprobrious 
epithets when speaking of sanitary inspectors, aye, and of 
much higher dignitaries, so we put little stress on this ; but 
there is no denying the fact that so undefined are this officer's 
qualifications and status that all and sundry, from a country 
roadman to a head constable, have been appointed to the 
post. Something in the form of a man was put at the 
lowest figure into the position — a kind of sanitary "Aunt 
Sally," at which nuisance-haunted persons might chip their 
complaints. But the people got tired chipping where 
perseverance by no chance was rewarded by any hygienic 
or other cocoa-nut, and as time wore on and the Local 
Government (Scotland) Act appeared, the advance was so 
marked as to exhibit the fact that the Board of Supervision 
and the Government had realised the low point to which 
the office had fallen, and had determined to raise it. Since 
then the London Act of 1891 has been passed. It takes a 
further step in specifying that for this post a special man 
must be sought for, and such special man must possess a 
sanitary certificate such as is issued by the Sanitary Insti- 
tute or other certifying body. This brings us to the point 
I want to get at. We have here in embryo the makings of 
a legal register — that is, a register so hall-marked by 
legal enactment that no individual who has not received 
such legalised certificate may offer himself to any local 
authority for the vacant post of sanitary inspector. A 
legalised register entitles certain persons who have evinced 
on examination special education and qualifications to use a 



18 

certain title or place certain letters after their names which 
it is not legal for other persons to use. Thereby they 
become known to all, and are generally recognised as experts 
in their vocation or profession. An Act of registration is the 
instrument which, along with other corporate advantages, 
confers this exclusive right on qualified individuals. At the 
present time I sometimes see the letters C.S.I., meaning 
" certified sanitary inspector," or " certified by the Sanitary 
Institute," placed after certain names. This is well ; but 
there is nothing in law at present to prevent any sanitary 
coach from issuing certificates to his students, nor anything 
to prevent such from adding C.S.I, to their names also. So 
the letters C.S.I, are defenceless against fraud until an Act 
of registration has been obtained. This is obviously unfair 
to the man who has regularly studied and successfully passed 
a hard examination. But an Act of registration would do 
more than this. It would distinctly define who were 
entitled to appear before the recognised body of examiners. 
Not any fervent votary of "Mnemosyne who had got tired of 
his own job and, by the aid of a powerful memory, had 
stuffed himself with theoretical sanitation would then be 
able, on six or eight months' notice, to offer himself. Eligi- 
bility for examination is as important as examination itself, 
as, after all, examiners can only see a certain distance when 
exploring the depth of a candidate's knowledge. So the 
vocation would become specialised and honoured in a way 
it is hopeless to expect it can be as matters stand at present. 
And the public would be great gainers by such an Act as is 
here dimly foreshadowed. They would be assured in the 
service of a solid body of experts for work, the success of 
which is admittedly of vital concern to all ; they would feel 
safe in the knowledge that into their homes and about their 
surroundings they could call in men having a real and 
acknowledged hall-mark on them ; they would know where 
to find a guaranteed man where now they don't know where 
to find him ; they would respect and coincide where now, I 
regret to say, they often disparage and disagree. 

We are thankful for the progress made. We see the 
road clear in front, and look upon the upward windings of 



14 

it with a full hope that some day soon the sanitary in- 
spectors of this country will reach an open, well-defined 
space where they may fight the foes of health and vigour 
with better weapons than they have now, and in battalions 
properly safe-guarded against the entry of inexperience and 
ignorance. Till that time comes we cannot afford to wait 
in idleness. I appeal to every inspector in Scotland to give 
us his countenance and support. The times are getting ripe 
for vigorous movement — for strenuous endeavour; and so 
long as our Association is favoured by such encouragement 
as the good town of Alloa extends to-day we may confi- 
dently claim the ear and good wishes of the great majority 
of the people. 



[Reprinted from "The Sanitary Journal," March, 1895.] 



THE PLUMBER: HIS PRESENT POSITION 
AND FUTURE PROSPECTS. 



Some choose their callings by instinct ; some come by their 
callings, as one does a fortune, by legacy ; while others 
tumble into their callings by sheer accident. Thirty years 
ago the fatherless lad who had to settle the momentous 
question, " What shall I do to live ?" felt himself stranded 
in doubt and perplexity. Technical colleges were practi- 
cally non-existent. He could not try and then honourably 
or safely draw back. His position then was, and to some 
extent even now is, like that of the Prince of Morocco, the 
Prince of Arragon, and Sign or Bassanio when the curtains 
of the ante-chamber were drawn, revealing the caskets of 
the fair Portia. 

As her suitors stood before the three graven boxes of 
gold, silver, and lead, anxious, doubtful, fearful of their 
luck, so must the thoughtful boy feel when, under no 
pressure of instinct, unguided by a father's love, he comes 
to choose his trade. In the old days, his choice once made 
was irrevocable. The lad became an indentured apprentice, 
was bound by legal withes to his post, and, fit or unfit, he 
was in for five or seven years. Good and well was this 
system so long as the youth loved his labour — where he 
had found his vocation ; bad and ill when his hands 
acquired no cunning, and his heart became the heart of 
a drudge. " The stickit minister " is not a sadder spectacle 
than the stickit joiner or the stickit plumber. 

Nothing in the movement of plumbers towards national 
registration will serve civilisation better than those lectures 



and the technical instruction which the association is push- 
ing on so earnestly and so successfully. Technical instruc- 
tion on a right basis means that any lad, dubious of his 
choice, may put forth his mind and hand for a season at a 
trade without committing his future. If such an one, upon 
trial, finds his mind and hand unfitted to plumb, lie can and 
should leave plumbing to those who love it and can do it. 
I have often thought, as I saw a lad streaking mv door 
panels with daubs of paint and heard his warblings, 
that if his painting were as good as his singing my door 
would be a marvel of beauty instead of a monstrosity in 
graining. 

Having before me this broad idea, I noticed with some 
regret that at the end of December last Professor Garnett, 
as representing the Plumbers' Company of London, stated 
in a brief address that technical instruction in plumbing 
and kindred sciences in that city was strictly confined to 
those who were already members of the trade. This may 
do as a beginning, but surely technical tuition as one of its 
aims should seek to protect the trade from the entry to it 
of youths who have on trial no liking, no genius, for it, 
and, on the other hand, protect many a lad, before it is too 
late, from entering a business for which he has no natural 
aptitude, and in which there is no hope of his getting on. 
Every trade has its yearly number of victims. Compelled 
by force of circumstances, many a lad, from want of 
guidance in and knowledge of what he is doing, takes up 
his soldering bolt or his crosscut saw and wastes two or 
three valuable years of his life which would be more 
usefully employed in weighing out potatoes or carrying the 
nation's telegrams. 

The present position of the plumber in Glasgow carries 
with it the performance of duties not easily mastered in 
their entirety, and responsibilities of the gravest import. 
His future prospects, as I see them, immensely enlarge the 
former, and consequently add seriously to the latter. 

The lad with the soldering bolt in his hand apprehends 
but dimly the path before him. In anticipation of young 
plumbers bulking largely in my audience to-night, I 



selected my subject, and will endeavour to open a vista 
within his daily environment through which may be seen, 
in a general way, not only the far-reaching and beneficent 
effects of his efforts now, but a vision of prospective fields 
of extended usefulness in all highly civilised centres of 
population. 
X As to Glasgow, while not behind in much that tends 
to fill civic life with vitality, comfort, and wealth, she is 
yet lagging in some enterprises which directly make for 
these desirable things. I know of no class of tradesmen 
more fitted to carry out the detail of the enterprises I have 
in my mind than her domestic engineers, known at present 
under the generic term, plumbers. 

What is a plumber? The dictionaries state it thus — 
" One who works in lead : one who adjusts lead pipes and 
other apparatus for the conveyance of water." Does that 
definition of Johnson, Walker, and Webster cover you and 
your work ? I trow not. The evolutionary processes of 
time, the necessities of the human race, have driven you all 
beyond water into sewage, steam, and air ; beyond lead into 
iron, steel, and brass. 

Perhaps I am wrong in saying you have all been so 
driven. In Greater Glasgow I find there are 239 master 
plumbers, employing among them, at the end of 1894, 1151 
journeymen and 862 apprentices. I asked these 239 master 
plumbers three questions — 

First. " Do you undertake steam and hot water heating 
in churches, hotels, and public buildings ?" 

Second. " Do you confine yourself to plumbing only ?" 

Third. " Are you prepared to lead the new hydraulic 
power into buildings, and, if necessary, connect it to hoisting- 
plant and machinery ? " 

The following is a summary of the answers received : — 

115 say they undertake steam and hot water heating; 

124 confine themselves to plumbing pure and simple ; and 

200 state they are prepared to assist in the distribution 
of water in the city at a pressure of 1000 lbs. to the square 
inch. 

Now, I maintain that the modern plumber must face 



modern work, or stand aside and make way for a new class 
of municipal tradesmen in departments only divided by a 
very thin partition wall from that in which he was reared. 
I take it that the 124 masters who confine themselves and 
their employes to plumbing pure and simple represent the 
plumber of the dictionary plus sewage. ^ 

It may be argued by such that, to adequately supply 
cold and hot water in various fashions to suit the comfort 
and convenience of the citizens, and make suitable arrange- 
ments for the safe discharge of all sewage and liquid waste 
into the city's sewer, is a big duty — important enough and 
onerous enough to be considered the only and legitimate 
duty of the trade. 

At the present time, with Lower Glasgow in its transition 
stage from privy to water-closet — from the sixth part of a 
sink and water tap to one for each family — there is much 
to be said for the attitude of the majority. Work is flow- 
ing and will flow in upon the plumbers of Glasgow on these 
lines for many years to come in increasing quantity. No 
one can say that this, the present peculiar function of the 
plumber, is not one of the most important in the municipal 
arena. All recognise the fact that, since the plumber came 
to add the extraction of sewage from the home to his first 
duty of supplying the pure water, he jumped from being a 
tradesman yielding comfort and convenience into the posi- 
tion of a health protector or a health destroyer. It is 
mainly on this latter ground that the protection of an Act 
of Parliament is being sought for your trade. The realisa- 
tion is gradually dawning on the minds of men in authority 
that bad, careless, ignorant plumber- work not only invoJ ves 
discomfort, but may be death to the citizen. I know, from 
experience in my official position, that lives are yearly 
undermined and cut off through inefficient workmanship in 
pipes and drains. Many of these fatal blunderings are 
doubtless due to a trade competition in estimates plus an 
unsatisfactory plumbing law as to minimums beneath which 
no plumber should go, and, in my humble opinion, successive 
Governments are to blame for so long delaying to give heed 
to such an all-important matter. But many are also due to 



sheer ignorance on the part of workmen entrusted with a 
job, and I think you will all agree with me that no individual 
should be entrusted with the conception and construction of 
work who cannot give evidence of a full knowledge of its 
principles and practice. 

The present position of the plumber in this respect is 
admittedly unsatisfactory, and the Plumbers Registration 
Bill, now before Parliament, is the evidence that he feels it 
to be so. The London Times, in a leader on the subject at 
the close of 1889, seems to deprecate legislative interference 
with your trade. The writer admits fully the immense im- 
portance to the public of first-class and scientific plumber- 
work, but says that your seeking the authority and 
countenance of the State is a roundabout way of setting to 
work. He goes on to say — ' It is a little difficult to under- 
stand what legislation can be required to give authority 
to such a body as the Plumbers' Company, or how the 
Company's authority, which, to its infinite credit, has 
spontaneously undertaken the work, could be enhanced by 
legislation. The certificate of the Plumbers' Company 
should be to the plumber, whether master or workman, 
what the Kew certificate is to a watch. ... If a man 
wants his drains well laid and his pipes well plumbed, he 
should employ men to do the work who hold the certificate 
of the Plumbers' Company." 

Now, all this looks plausible enough. It is the cosmic 
principle of natural selection applied to plumbing. But 
those who argue thus forget two things — first, that the vast 
proportion of the public have not the choosing of the 
plumber, and that he or they who do choose him too often 
consult the interests of the private purse rather than the 
interests of public health; second, that the general statute 
law of England and Scotland does not proclaim what satis- 
factory plumbing is, and consequently the proprietors, be 
they individuals, trusts, or syndicates, are within their legal 
rights in putting in the flimsiest job that money can buy so 
long as it will stand the smoke test, which, as all practical 
men know, gives a very transitory security. 

But even presuming that the early future will bring the 



sixty-two model byelaws lately passed by your united 
Congress in Inverness into active and universal application 
by process of law, there would still remain, in my opinion, 
the need for a State-protected register of the men who are 
accounted fit to fulfil the law. Not till then will the modern 
plumber be " regarded as the trusted friend of every house 
hold, instead of its deadly and most troublesome foe." 

To-day plumbers are thought to be the myrmidons of 
landlords or house factors ; they have good prospects, 
through the Registration Bill, of becoming on an early 
to-morrow independent men fighting all and equally in the 
great cause of public health. 

I have only one regretful thought in contemplating this 
aspect of your future, and that is the possible abolition of 
the honourable office of the sanitary inspector so far as 
drainage is concerned. 

But let me come back for a few minutes to that answer 
of the majority of master plumbers in Glasgow, viz., ' We 
confine ourselves to plumbing pure and simple"; and from 
this, their present position, I will try to show you, in the 
light of modern tendencies, that it involves the sacrifice by 
your trade of the name " domestic engineers," and all share 
in the functions which in time to come shall attach to that 
name. In this study I am conscious of appearing, so far as 
my native city is concerned, in the dangerous role of a 
prophet, and as "prophets have no honour in their own 
country" I am likely to meet with the orthodox fate. 
Nevertheless, I make bold to say that Glasgow in 1945 
will warm herself, cook her food, and drive her motors by 
very different methods from those employed just now, and 
in these methods I am convinced the future plumber should 
have a predominant share. Even now warning voices are 
in the air. The daily envelopment of our city in her pall 
of smoke is calling forth the anxiety of our best citizens, 
and the cry is going forth for more rational methods of 
obtaining heat and power. 

I am now going to draw your thoughts to what has 
actually been accomplished in the commercial capital of 
America, where our American cousins are solving one of 



the problems of cities. In New York, in 1882, works were 
established to supply steam at a pressure of 80 lbs. per 
square inch to the citizens from central stations, as we get 
our gas and water at the present time. 

Two main stations have been erected by the New York 
Steam Company capable of supplying high-pressure steam 
up to 1.9,000 horse power per hour. The main wrought- 
iron pipes from these stations extend through nearly eight 
miles of streets, yielding power to between 500 and 600 
steam engines, but principally heat to public and private 
buildings. I cannot, in a lecture of this kind, enter upon 
technical details, but a few of the main facts will interest 
you, who may, if you choose, come to be the men who 
will assist in a similar distribution in this city of such 
a • useful and beneficial power before many years have 
gone. 

The large mains are welded wrought-iron pipes, 11, 13, 
15, and 16 inches in diameter, while the small supply pipes 
from them to the houses, offices, and factories are the 
ordinary standard wrought-iron piping in daily use in 
your trade. The main pipes are laid in brick trenches, 
and are kept 4 inches from the sides of the trench. The 
trenches are asphalted, and the spaces between the pipes 
•and the sides of the trench are packed with slag or mineral 
wool to prevent condensation. Over the pipes there is a 
covering or roof of 4-inch tarred planks bedded in cement. 
This roofing is covered by tarred paper carried down the 
trench walls to keep out water. All the branches from 
these mains, except those for very small steam supplies, are 
3 inches in diameter, and are flanged. These branches 
are capable of supplying from 50 to 95 horse power 
When the system was first installed the condensed water 
was led into small return iron mains and taken back to the 
boilers at a temperature of 200° Fahr., but it was found 
that these pipes gave way under external corrosion, which 
proved extremely active at that temperature. The con- 
densed water is therefore now mainly discharged into the 
public sewers. This is obviously a disadvantageous cir- 
cumstance, both on account of the loss incurred by the 



8 

company, estimated at 10 per cent, of fuel, and also 
because the sewage in the sewers is thereby more rapidly 
decomposed, thus producing offensive putrefactive gases 
which will give offence in the streets. The superintendent, 
I understand, means to try return pipes made of brass, the 
expense of which he thinks would be fully met by the 
saving of the hot water. 

Such, most briefly, is the main system of steam heating 
In New York, and by so much are the plumbers and heating 
engineers of that great city encouraged and assisted in 
supplying to her citizens one of the prime necessaries of 
life, namely, heat. Now, let us glance at the cost of such 
power and heat to the consumers. The company charge 
upon what is known as a " Kal." A " Kal " is equivalent 
to the heat necessary to produce 1110 thermal units, or 
otherwise to raise one pound of water from 100° into steam 
at 70 lbs. pressure to the square inch. When it has to be 
reckoned in horse power it has been found that there are 
30 " Kals " in one indicated horse power. For a continuous 
supply of 30 " Kals," or one indicated horse power per hour, 
a charge of about fd. per hour is made, which for a 
working period of 3000 hours during the year amounts 
to £9 7s. 6d. Small users pay more, viz., £12 10s., and 
large users pay less, or £7 10s. In Glasgow these charges- 
would be greatly reduced as both our fuel and our labour 
are much cheaper. 

Coming to the cost of heating, we find the charge is 
about 9s. 6d. for each 1000 cubic feet of space heated 
during 182 days of the cold season at 24 hours per day. 
Of course, radiators may be placed in very different 
situations, and, owing to the exposure and draughts of cold 
air, may condense large quantities of steam. The maximum 
charged by this company, where such conditions have been 
found to exist, is 17s. lOd. per 1000 cubic feet for the 
season. As before stated, we could do it here much 
cheaper, and I do not think I am far out when I estimate 
that at two-thirds of this cost it could be made to pay 
in Glasgow. That is to say, one indicated horse power 
ould be supplied for one halfpenny per hour, and 1000 



9 

cubic feet of space be efficiently warmed during 182 days 
at 24 hours per day on an average charge of 9s. Id. for 
the season. 

In order to give you an idea of the cost of heating by 
our open-fire system in the smaller houses of Glasgow, I 
took about 100 average one-apartment houses, 100 average 
two-apartment houses, and 100 average three-apartment 
houses in the north, east, south, and west of the city, and 
through my lady inspectors found that during the week 
beginning 18th December and ending on 24th December, 
1894, the following was the average amount of coal burned 
in each class : — 

One apartment, - - - - 1 cwt. 2 qrs. 20 lbs. 
Two apartments, - - - 2 cwts. 1 qr. 7 lbs. 

Three apartments, - - - 2 cwts. 1 qr. 13 lbs. 

This week was a mild one in respect of weather, and may 
be taken as an average week as to temperature during the 
182 days of the cold season. 

At these quantities we have the following as the expen- 
diture for coals in the respective houses during 182 days. 





Tons 


Cwts. Qrs. 


Lbs. 




£ 


S. D. 


One apartment, 
Two apartments, 
Three apartments, 


2 

3 
3 


3 2 



1 2 


16 
14 




at 8d. per cwt. , 

5) )) 
3) >) 


1 
2 
2 


9 1 

1 

1 



Now, we may take it that a one-apartment house in 
Glasgow is equivalent to 1000 cubic feet of space, so you 
see the £1 9s. Id. they expend for fuel is greatly in excess 
of even the highest charge of 17s. lOd. in New York for 
heating a similar space effectively for 24 hours per day. 
Yes ! but then you say, what about cooking ? Well, I see 
no reason why all cooking cannot be most effectively done 
by steam. 

In our two latest Atlantic greyhounds — the " Campania " 
and the " Lucania " — all the roasting, stewing, and 
boiling are done in steam ovens supplied by a well-known 
Glasgow firm. In these steamships the steam from the 
boilers has a pressure of 160 lbs. per square inch. This 
is reduced for the roasting ovens to 90 lbs. pressure, and 
to between 5 and 10 lbs. for boiling. A joint of mutton, 



10 

6 lbs. in weight, is thoroughly cooked by 80 lbs. steam in 
2 1 hours. There is little waste of steam occasioned by 
this process of cooking, and there is nothing against its 
free use in all humble homes except the first cost of the 
ovens and boiling pots and the want of steam. Given 
the steam at their doors, I am convinced the necessary 
apparatus would soon be forthcoming at moderate expense. 
It may be objected that such a system would not give 
the full and free ventilation obtained by the open fire, and 
that, in any event, the want of the cheery heart-inspiring 
glow of the flaming coal would effectively debar the free 
use of steam radiators and steam cooking stoves. As to 
the former objection, it is true that the open fire is a 
powerful ventilator, but it is also true that in small houses 
it is one of the most powerful preventers of free ventilation. 
Anyone who has experience of these houses during the 
night watches knows the foetid condition of the atmosphere 
in them, caused largely by the tenants carefully stopping 
up every crevice at window and door by which fresh air 
can enter. Almost all the heat from the open fire is 
rushing up the chimney, causing the exhaustion which 
produces the chilling draughts of cold air they seek to 
prevent. Hence not only is the vast proportion of the 
caloric in their fuel lost in the chimney flues, but that 
loss conduces to the absence of abundant fresh supplies 
reaching them during sleep from the outside. Such 
would be almost entirely obviated by causing the air 
during the night to pass through the steam radiators, 
and the chimneys would still continue, in a moderate 
but efficient way, to act as exhausters of the vitiated 
atmosphere. With regard to the latter objection, there 
is no doubt a pleasing phantasy induced by gazing on 
the glowing embers, but to those who only win their daily 
bread and nothing more, a loss to please the fancy is a loss 
indeed, and there can be no question that to obtain heat 
from an open fire is a most costly and extravagant way, 
only to be adopted when there is no other way of securing 
it. In these sanitary days we hear of sewer gas, filthy 
surroundings, and defective ventilation as breeders of 



11 

disease, carrying off their thousands of victims yearly, 
and huge sums have been and are being spent to minimise 
the effects of all such pestilential conditions ; but what 
about the demon cold and his brother demon the fog ? 
When these unheavenly twins visit our streets and alleys, 
as they have this winter, for a lengthened time, we see 
human life being blotted out as it were before our eyes in 
every part of the city. 

When the severe cold came last month the death-rate 
rose from 23"9 in December up to 28 - 4 for January, a 
distinct jump in a few days of 4*5 per 1000 in our rate. 
This simply means that 261 persons died that month who 
would not, humanly speaking, have died under the con- 
ditions existing in December, almost solely caused by 
January's temperature being about 10 degrees under that 
of December. Frost is therefore seen to be an immediate 
destroyer of life in great cities, but when he is assisted by 
continued fog the loss of life and health becomes appalling. 
In the middle week of February the death-rate had 
mounted to 43 per 1000. 

What causes fog but the smoke which comes from our 
open fires and our badly managed boiler furnaces ? Even in 
London, where factories are not permitted to belch their 
deadly carbon into the air as they are here, you see 
recurrent fogs enveloping as a pall the vast city, claiming 
yearly its victims. What causes them but the smoke from 
the chimneys of her million household fires, mingling with 
the saturated air of her winter days ? It is time, it seems 
to me, for capitalists or municipal authorities to look at 
this great question of central steam stations from this 
point of view alone, and I feel sure that in solving one of 
the municipal sanitary problems of the age they will also 
solve, in a most satisfactory manner to themselves finan- 
cially, the economic problem of how to heat a great city on 
a better and cheaper basis than it is now heated. 

Are the 115 master plumbers who state they are 
prepared to undertake steam heating in churches, hotels, 
and public buildings ready and able to serve the humblest 
citizen with a steam supply with comfort, economy, and 



12 

without danger if such a supply were laid at every door ? 
Your brethren in New York have had to face it, and 
apparently have faced it successfully. It is not to be done 
nor thought of without serious study. Much opposition 
and popular prejudice will have to be overcome in such a 
revolutionary change. Nothing, no one is more conserva- 
tive in such matters than the great democracy. In all 
reforms, in all radical changes, it is ever the same ; and 
many minds who, looking ahead, can grasp the feasibility of 
such schemes in theory, shrink from attacking the problem 
in its varied details, shrink from incurring the obloquy 
attaching to possible primary failures. The New York 
Steam Company have had their failures. Mr. William 
Cawthorne Unwin, F.R.S., in one of his 1893 Howard 
Lectures, thus closes his account of the working of their 
system : — " The New York plant, in spite of some faults 
almost inevitable in a new enterprise, is running and 
yielding a large income. Many buildings would have their 
rental values materially lowered if the steam supply were 
cut off." It would, I think you will admit, be of signal 
importance to your trade and to the public generally if 
an object lesson upon a fair scale were given in this city 
by what is known throughout the kingdom as the most 
go-ahead corporation in it ; and I now ask your indulgence 
while I refer for a few minutes to a waste, part of which 
could well be so utilised. 

As most of you are aware, there are in Glasgow three 
main cleansing depots called refuse despatch works. After 
all is sold that can be sold from among the heterogeneous 
mass of stuff collected from the city every day, there is 
a residue known technically as " soft core," which, like the 
tares of the Scriptures, goes to the burning. On the 
average about 94 tons of this " soft core " is destroyed 
by fire in the furnaces every night, and the heat given 
off simply goes up gigantic chimneys 200 or 300 feet 
high. In 1883 I ventured to suggest to the late Mr. W. R. 
W. Smith, then chairman of the cleansing committee, 
through Mr. John Young, my then superior officer, that 
this was a gross waste of valuable power, and I observe 



13 

from a paper Mr. Young read in that year to the congress 
of the Sanitary Institute held in Glasgow, that the com- 
mittee on cleansing had before them in a formal manner 
the question of utilising the surplus fuel in raising steam 
for electric lighting purposes, and that a special committee 
was appointed to report on the subject. I never saw their 
report, and, at anyrate, nothing was done, nor, so far as I 
am aware, were any scientific experiments carried out to 
test the waste in these destructor furnaces. I therefore, 
two months ago, spoke to Councillor Crawford on the 
subject, and he at once fell in with the notion of having the 
subject gone into. I borrowed a Siemens' water pyrometer, 
which the Steel Company of Scotland kindly lent me. 
Armed with this instrument I, along with my assistant, Mr. 
Dewar, began operations on the night of the 24th January 
at the despatch works at Kelvinhaugh. 

A reading was taken in the flue at the back of No. 4 
furnace every hour for 10 hours, and a careful note was 
made each hour of the quantity of refuse thrown on to the 
furnace bars. The whole is graphically delineated before 
you in the form of a figured diagram [see following page], so 
I do not occupy time in reading you the figures, but the result 
is interesting and important, Calculations carefully made 
as between the average temperature registered, viz., 1356° 
Fahr., the weight of the fuel burned during the 10 hours, and 
the estimated amount of air passing through the furnace 
and heated from 40° to 1356°, discovered that as nearly as 
possible 1 lb. of the refuse would evaporate into steam 1 lb. 
of water. Now, this result is much lower than is recorded 
in respect of the refuse furnaces of Birmingham and War- 
rington, which have boilers connected with them. In the 
former the evaporative power of the refuse was found to be 
179 lbs. of water to the 1 lb. of refuse, and in the latter 
case, 1*47 lbs. of water to the 1 lb. of refuse. But it must 
be recollected that here in Glasgow all the cinder is 
abstracted from the destructor fuel and goes to supply 
steam for the works. However, the horse power lost is 
very considerable, and amounts in the three refuse despatch 
works to not less than 7018 horse power per night of 



14 



FLUE TEMPERATURES 







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BEGAN WITH 
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15 

10 hours, or almost 702 horse power per hour. Calcu- 
lating the value of the horse power at one halfpenny per 
hour, or two-thirds of the rate charged in New York for 
this equivalent in steam, the Cleansing Committee are 
nightly parting with a commodity they might be able to 
sell in the form of steam for £14 12s. 6d. nightly, or 
per annum of 3000 working hours, for £4387 10s. Out of 
this sum which may be obtained for the steam, what might 
be termed the pure loss is its equivalent in coal at 7s. a ton, 
which amounts to £1213 12s. 6d. per annum, and the 
firemen's wages, which, of course, are at present lost. 
Each of the arc lamps of 2000 candle power to be seen 
burning in Buchanan Street any night takes 1 indicated 
horse power per hour to keep it going ; so the power of 
these furnaces, if utilised, after deducting 20 per cent. 
for conversion of power and leakage, would with suitable 
machinery supply 562 such arc lamps, and light on the 
low-tension system 19 miles of streets at 60 yards from 
lamp to lamp, within a two-mile radius of each of the 
works. One of the great drawbacks to a large and 
general use of this refuse for power production is the 
irregularity of its supply. But in order to ensure an 
approximation to regularity, the cleansing of Glasgow is 
arranged on the " block system," and hence, with a little 
storing on certain days, an average quantity per day could 
be arranged, even enough for practical purposes. 

You will see from what I have stated that the Corpora- 
tion are in quite an exceptionally good position for trying 
the power and usefulness of steam for heating and cooking 
in a few selected buildings near to any of their works, 
either in tenements belonging to themselves, or, by special 
arrangement, in the property of private proprietors. The 
labour, the fuel, and the furnaces are on the ground; 
nothing is wanting but the boilers, the pipes, and the 
appliances to inaugurate the beginning of a system which, 
in my opinion, Glasgow will one day possess, and, looking 
back, will be surprised she did without so long. 

I now have pleasure in directing your attention to 
another phase of municipal enterprise which has not 



16 

hitherto been developed to any extent in this country, but 
which all first-class plumbers should know something 
about, and especially those who have aspirations to serve 
their fellow-citizens in the march of progress. This time 
the object lesson is Paris, whose huge underground sewers 
afford ample accommodation for the transference of power 
from central stations. I am indebted to the British Asso- 
ciation Lectures of 1889 by Professor A. B. W. Kennedy 
and to Professor TJnwin for much of my information under 
this heading. 

Compressed air has for a very long period been in use for 
various purposes, principally for driving tunnels such as the 
Mont Cenis and St. Gothard, sinking mines, raising sunken 
vessels and treasure, and transporting goods and parcels 
swiftly from one place to another. Comparatively recently 
its manifest advantages as a clean, simple, and effective 
" maid of all work " have been recognised, and to M. Popp 
we are indebted for first introducing it among the 
Parisians in 1870. Curiously enough, the desire to be 
always " up to time " was the cause of its introduction to 
the " gay city." The Parisian clocks seemed about this time 
(something like the Glasgow clocks of to-day) much in need 
of accurate and simultaneous regulating. He accordingly 
installed a small system of compressed air distribution, and, 
by impulses of this most elastic medium, wrought and con- 
trolled a large number in the city. In 1889 the number of 
pneumatic clocks thus impelled to mark time was 8000. 
From this small beginning, with two compressors and 
mains § inch to £ inch in diameter, the system has gradually 
grown until to-day there are two large central stations with 
boilers and engines developing 12,000 horse power, with 
principal mains 34 miles in length and ranging from 1| 
inches to 20 inches in diameter. There is a probability 
of the total power being extended to 28,000 horse 
power. The main pipes are 1|, 2^, 3£, and 4 inches 
diameter of ordinary wrought iron tubing, 12 inches 
diameter made of cast iron, and the last new main is 
20 inches diameter made of steel. It has been thought 
possible to transmit this handy and hygienic power up to 



17 



T3 



U_l 




18 

10,000 horse power in main pipes a distance of 20 miles, 
and to obtain in suitable engines at that distance as much 
as 6000 to 7000 horse power. A general comprehension of 
the system will be obtained by reference to the diagram on 
the preceding page. Here A represents the main engine at 
the central station. B is the compressor, together with a 
cold water pump which cools down the air, as, in the 
process of squeezing, it acts like a man in a vast crowd and 
becomes hot, its temperature at 75 lbs. per square inch 
(absolute) being about 256°Fahr. C is the large air reser- 
voir from which the various branching mains are fed. 
Then at the point of use, where the engines or motor is 
needed, we have the small wrought-iron or lead pipe from 
the main in the street led to the meter E — the supply valve 
F. The valve F may either be attached direct to the 
motor, or, as is commonly done, to a small heating coke 
stove G. The reason of this latter method is two-fold. 
First, because if the air is sent direct from the mains into 
the engine at 60° or 80° Fahr., it becomes so cold during its 
expansion to the ordinary pressure of the atmosphere that 
it is apt to produce hoar frost and icicles in the exhaust 
ports and the exhaust pipe ; and secondly, it is found that 
by heating it first its efficiency in the engine is nearly 
doubled. H is the engine or motor in the shop or workshop. 

I need scarcely say that by the action of a reducing valve 
any pressure may be used which is considered advisable. 
The pressure in the mains is about 6 atmospheres absolute, 
or 90 lbs. to the square inch. The meter for measuring the 
quantity used is just an anemometer and counting dial. 

There is no time now, nor perhaps is this a suitable 
occasion, to show you the scientific side of this system, 
although it is of the deepest interest and beauty, so I 
will just touch on its cost to the producer and to the 
consumer, and in passing make a few remarks with 
respect to other agencies of power, such as coal gas and 
compressed water, in the general distribution of which I 
take it all good plumbers are deeply interested, as I find 
from their kind answers to my questions 200 master 
plumbers in this city out of the total 239 are quite prepared 



19 

to lead the new hydraulic pressure into any building, when- 
ever the Corporation start their machinery. 

I will then finish with what to me, at present, is an 
important phase oi* this subject, and seek to show the 
paramount sanitary advantages of compressed air as a 
motive power of factories, workshops, and shops. 

In the large new Central Station at Quai de la Gare in 
Paris, the compressors produce 438 cubic feet or 33| lbs. of 
air at 7 atmospheres for each indicated horse power per 
hour in the steam engines. 883 cubic feet or 67i lbs. are 
compressed to 105 lbs. per square inch for one penny sterling. 
Professor Reidler has given us the advantage of his tests 
with compressed air in an old 80 horse power steam engine 
in Paris, which, after adaptation, yielded 72 indicated horse 
power for the consumption of 31,000 cubic feet of air or 
2376 lbs. of air per hour at the pressure of the atmosphere. 
This air before introduction to the old steam engine was 
heated to 300° Fahr. by burning 15 lbs. of coke. If we 
divide 31,000 by 883 we find that the 72 horse power per 
hour were obtained at a cost of 35 pence, and by dividing 
35 by 72 we have, as the cost of the air used in that engine 
to produce one horse power per hour, not quite one half- 
penny plus 15 lbs. of coke. Of course, the producing of 
this 883 cubic feet of compressed air for one penny does not 
allow for depreciation of machinery and plant nor interest, 
which, according to competent authorities, is covered by y^ 
of a penny more per horse power per hour, so we have in 
the final result ^ of a penny per hour as the cost of the 
air used in a converted steam engine or £11 5s. per year of 
3000 working hours for every effective horse power. 

Now, while hydraulic power is admirably adapted for 
straight motion, such as we find in cranes, lifts, hoists, and 
presses, it is, on account of its non-expansive power, quite 
impracticable where rotary motion is desired. Even on the 
sliding scale of the London Hydraulic Power Company, by 
which a consumer of 500,000 gallons per quarter is charged 
only 2s. per 1000 gallons, we find that, instead of paying 
£11 5s., he would require to pay £43 15s. per effective horse 
power per year of 3000 working hours. This puts it quite 



20 

out of court, as this amount of compressed water is about 
what would be used by a consumer with a 5-horse engine — 
an effective horse power per hour requiring 146 gallons per 
hour at a pressure of 750 lbs. per square inch. 

As to the use of lighting gas for generating power in gas 
engines, it has been found by experience that it takes 26| 
cubic feet of it per effective horse power per hour, which, at 
2s. 6d. per 1000 cubic feet, makes the cost £10 per horse 
power per annum of 3000 working hours. 

In point of cost, therefore, gas is a serious rival to com- 
pressed air, 1 horse power per year of 3000 hours costing 
£1 5s. less, and, of course, it has the further advantage over 
all its rivals that it can be stored in huge quantities very 
easily and cheaply. On the other hand, compressed air, to 
my mind, has four main advantages over gas, and these 
are — 

1. In the simplicity and cheapness of the motors that can 
be employed, and the little attendance these require; 

2. In the variation of speed that can be obtained, and 
adaptability to varying loads put upon the engine ; 

3. In freedom from danger to life or to property from 
explosions or fire when an accident happens either to the 
motor or in the distributing pipes; and 

4. In the first-class hygienic conditions which can be 
obtained in crowded factories and workshops by the use of 
compressed air engines. 

Only upon the last of these advantages would I offer a 
few observations before closing. 

Nothing is more patent to anyone who inspects the 
smaller jfactories and workshops in a large industrial com- 
munity than the absence of adequate means of ventilation, 
and the production of evenly and suitable temperatures for 
the workers. 

We all know the high death-rates from pulmonary 
complaints which are due to the want of efficient venti- 
lation in such places as flax mills, cotton mills, woollen 
mills, and the like, but in our small factories and work- 
rooms such as printers' shops, bookbinders' premises, 
calendering works, dye works, tailors' workrooms, button- 



21 

making works, colour grinding factories, etc., we have a 
state of things becoming intolerable, and a burden of 
responsibility is cast upon us of momentous importance. 
I have found tailors in Glasgow plying their needles on 
a cool day in a steady temperature of 82° Fahr. On the 
other hand, I find young girls sitting all day, just under 
the slates, at the engine-driven sewing; machines with the 
temperature in the workroom a little over 40° Fahr. in 
such weather as we lately passed through. As there are 
no adequate means of ventilation in close, stifling weather, 
so there are no proper methods of heating such premises 
when the chilly frosts appear. Add to these discomforts 
the constant inhalation of stagnant pre-breathed air and 
you have all the key you need to the firm and continuous 
grip of phthisis upon our factory and workshop operatives. 
Their homes may be to blame, and in some cases must be 
blamed, for the wide prevalence of this terrible scourge in 
our midst, but the unwholesome factory and the overheated 
or chilling workroom has, I think, much to answer for. 
How can we meet such conditions with gas engines ? 
Their poisonous exhaust is only fit to be sent up the 
chimney, and hardly fit for that — -much of it we find 
spluttering out through holes in the windows. In the 
majority of cases the manufacturer has no spare power; 
very often he has too little for his needs, and so cannot 
put the small extra burden on his gas engine of driving 
an exhaust fan. And even if he could, the want of heating 
appliances would render its use insufferable. Here the 
compressed air motor comes in as no other known motor 
could. By simply regulating the small heating stove and 
the pressure, you can obtain an exhaust from it of pure 
wholesome air, the whole of which, or part of which, can 
be discharged into the workroom at the temperature 
desired. Professor Kennedy informed the British Associ- 
ation there was neither heat nor smell from air motors. 
"Very large printing offices in Paris, almost unbearable," 
he said, " with heat and stuffiness, are rendered quite 
pleasant by allowing a portion of the exhaust to come into 
the room." What an advantage, sanitary and commercial, 



22 

such a motor would be in all our butchers', shops, large 
dairies, and restaurants, where the exhaust could be utilised 
to do all the cooling or even freezing in the warmest 
weather. From a sanitary point of view alone its free 
use in such a city as ours would be well worth double the 
money now spent in steam or gas power. I have no doubt 
that further improvements in its production at the central 
stations, as well as in the motors which utilise compressed 
air, will bring; its cost down to near the level of steam 
and gas, and that before long ; meantime, I am satisfied 
if anyone here has become interested enough to look care- 
fully into a subject but little known and appreciated 
outside of a select coterie of expert engineers. Its day 
will come, and it can well afford to wait. I say this in 
full knowledge of the failure of the Birmingham Com- 
pressed Air Company. Their mains were so badly laid 
and leaked so much that they could not hope to succeed. 
The early experience of Paris should have been to them 
a warning. When it does come, let plumbers be ready. 
In many a home a poor outworker at her midnight sewing, 
or a cobbler cobbling until one in the morning, shall send 
for him to connect the small air motor which will assist 
to do the work in half the time. Not the least deleterious 
part of many a humble life is that part of it spent in 
labour at home which should be given to rest. Voluntary 
labour it may be called, but what is voluntary when 
starvation or other hard personal necessity compels ? Any 
power you can safely supply to lighten or expedite such 
labour must be a blessing. The homes are counted by 
thousands in Glasgow where such work is daily and 
nightly done — done by the unaided hand and arm. Steam 
and gas motors are useless here ; their giant arms are too 
big, their breath is too dangerous, for home work ; and 
unless the fiat of Government is to be pronounced against 
all such labour, such labour ought to be made as easy and 
expeditious as possible by the offer of a safe and sweet 
motive power, at the cheapest possible rate. Such may be 
had by the distribution of compressed air. 

I trust I may not to-night be considered as one who 
might as well have been dumb. I had nothing to say to 



23 

you on plumbing or on sanitation which has not been 
exhaustively and well said by able lecturers of past years. 
X I believe our city has a big future in front of her, and I as 
firmly believe her plumbers must materially assist in her 
growing prosperity and greatness. As trades such as 
yours advance in knowledge and usefulness and power, in 
breadth of view and in the application of applied science 
to the pressing needs of our teeming population, so shall 
be hastened the end of our present privations and needless 
waste. 

To those now in life's meridian the city of pure health is 
as yet but a vision. Our forefathers had visions also, and 
the dreams of their most sagacious are to-day more than 
realised. Our hopes rest on our young men. The young 
plumber need no longer tight his battle, and seek to conquer 
the information he needs in the slow school of experience. 
He alone who has learned the value of a noble discontent, 
and eagerly seizes the provision for fuller education and 
technical training shall reap the profit due to earnest 
labour. Register ! Register ! Register ! was the battle cry 
raised by our chairman at the beginning of this campaign. 
Drill ! Drill ! Drill ! should now be the words on the 
standard raised in the sight of every young plumber. 
Drill in education; drill in the theory of your work; drill 
in the best practice of your trade. 

Behind you stand, at headquarters, the Worshipful 
Plumbers Company of London. Beside you march the 
officers, the councils, secretaries and teachers in your 
districts. Before you are the enemy — the destructive 
forces at the heart of city life. These should not be 
allowed to proceed unchecked until every resource of 
human ingenuity is exhausted. 

Vested interest in smoke pollution, in ill-ventilated 
factories, in overheated or chilling workshops, in disease- 
producing homes shall surely stand aside before the dawn 
of a clearer knowledge. 

Science is even now pointing the way. May I express 
the hope that in the future prospects of the plumber lies 
embedded, in great measure, the realisation of our dream 
of to-day — the city of comfort and health. ^ 



[Reprinted from "The Sanitary Journal," November^ 1895.] 



ADDEESS 



TO 



YOUNG PLUMBERS AND INTENDING 
SANITARY INSPECTORS. 



On 11th October Mr. Peter Fyfe, F.R.S.E., chief sanitary inspector 
of the city of Glasgow, delivered the inaugural lecture of the eighth 
session of the theoretical classes, conducted by Mr. David Fulton, 
and the third session of the practical class, taught by Mr. Francis 
M'Culloch, under the auspices of the District Council of the 
National Registi'ation of Plumbers, in the Glasgow and West of 
Scotland Technical College. Sir John Neilson Cuthbertson, L.L.D., 
chairman of the governors of the college, presided, and there was 
a large attendance of students and of gentlemen interested in the 
improved education of the plumbing trade as a safeguard to the 
public health. The chairman, in introducing the lecturer, 
expressed the interest of the governors in the growing success of 
these classes. From 126 students, enrolled in the first session of 
the theoretical class, the numbers had risen last year to 183. In 
the practical class, the number who came forward in its first year 
was 81, while last year the enrolments were so large (110) that 
the class had to meet in separate divisions on three nights each 
week. No department of the college had given the governors 
greater gratification. No doubt, there were to be found self- 
taught men, mother wit, and natural instinct in the plumbing as 
in all other trades ; but, speaking generally, it was absolutely 
indispensable, in the present day, that every man who desired to 
succeed in his trade should be thoroughly well educated, and 
should give the best of his brains to his work. Mr. Fyfe, in his 
official capacity, might be described as a terror to evil doers, and 
a praise and protection to them that do well. Mr. Fyfe then 
proceeded to deliver the following lecture : — 

Again I am honoured by your teacher, and greet you 
at the commencement of your studious winter. Summer 
has again passed us. The long days of sunshine and 



evenings of joyous leisure and invigorating sport are 
closed. Our rested minds anew seek the delight of 
study. We have drawn the sweetness of the summer 
suns, the happiness which a holiday with nature ever 
brings, and now we again peer beneath the surface of her 
coverings, and try to learn some of the secrets of her 
workings. There are many students and many kinds of 
students. It is hard to draw any line of demarcation 
between classes of real students — persons who are devoting 
themselves to the cultivation of the understanding. Yet, as 
there are the aristocracy and the democracy in society, so 
there exist in student circles through the world the two 
great main classes, viz., those who follow the aesthetic and 
beautiful, and those who follow the practical and utili- 
tarian or useful. It is contended that everything which is 
beautiful is useful, and, per contra, everything which is 
really useful is beautiful ; but without troubling ourselves 
to pry closely into such abstractions, we may accept the 
above statement, in its broad aspect, as approximating the 
truth. The leisured student who stores his mind with 
Greek learning and revels in our finest poesy, the creations 
of Chaucer, Spencer, and Dryden, is a very different kind 
of student from him whose mind is bent upon hydrostatics 
and the science of plumbing in its widest sense. We meet 
as plumbers here to-night. Our objects are manifestly of 
the practical and utilitarian order ; but still the elements 
of the subjects bearing on the plumbing trade carry with 
them considerations of the highest beauty, and as the 
astronomical student through his telescope can worship the 
Creator from the mountains of the moon, so we through 
the Tantalus cup in the bathroom can behold Nature's 
great law of the " hydrostatic level " at work, and worship 
as well. There is sometimes a silent, subdued opposition 
noticeable between those who do theoretical work and those 
engaged in what has been termed " practical." Because the 
astronomer cannot show a mining syndicate a pathway to 
Mercury or Saturn — because the clergyman cannot manu- 
facture a moral man and place him in the Golden City with 
a palm in his hand — because the physician cannot drug 



every man and woman over the three-score years and ten, 
they are sometimes quietly sneered at, or at best only 
tolerated by those whose hands are daily engaged at 
making something. On the other hand, the scholar, with 
whom action is more or less a subordinate matter, looks 
down on the " practical " man, and, with a scarcely veiled 
contempt, believes that general ignorance dwells within 
him as a matter of course. So two essential features of life 
become, in their representatives, estranged, instead of being, 
as they ought to be, united and inter-supporting. The 
highest and truest individual man is the man in whom the 
two meet. He who unites sound theory to sensible practice 
is the man of all time — a veritable creator within the 
creation itself. No matter what the profession or trade 
may be — a doctor, an engineer, or a plumber is only half a 
doctor, half an engineer, half a plumber who has a complete 
course in theory and no practice, or, on the other hand, who 
possesses a complete course in practice and has no theory. 
The theoretical faddist still stalks among us dinning; his 
panaceas for all kinds of social ills into unheeding ears ; 
and the " rule of thumb " man may be seen every day 
walking about with his rule in his hand, leaning solely on 
his past experience and the knowledge of what his father 
did. Both are unfortunates, as ; having two eyes, one is 
blind, and therefore neither unfortunate can look straight 
nor see clearly. Whatever may happen in the future to 
help the pure theorist to see with his practical eye we 
know not ; but this we know, that in this hall to-night we 
have a sample of what the practical man is doing to open 
his blind eye. Technical education, so long talked about in 
my boyish days, has come at last, and plumbers here have 
to congratulate themselves that among their number in this 
city are men who have both eyes of their minds open, and 
who have arranged those evening lectures and classes so 
that the brain may be skilled as well as the hand. Does it 
look to any like a bit of dull routine to come here on two 
nights of every week, after the labour of the day is past, 
and study the metallurgy of lead, zinc, copper or iron, 
hydrostatics, hydrodynamics, and geometry and mensura- 



tion as applied in the plumbing trade ? Does it only fill in 
a vacant hour in a semi-pleasant way, and leave us next day 
beside the old milestone we passed bye the day before ? 
Then, in the name of all that is sacred, let us stay at home, 
follow quietly in the steps of our forefathers, without 
resource, without hope of creating anything new and useful 
for the benefit of our fellow men. If these classes — if this 
tuition means anything at all — it means the spreading of a 
man's roots to a foundation from which he may draw, as a 
tree does from deep soil, the nourishment necessary for his 
after growth. No doubt the doing of our daily tasks 
earnestly and well is an education in discipline and has a 
formative action on character of the highest importance ; 
but, when along with this determination a young man 
starts life with the firm conviction that he should do 
nothing without fully understanding why it is done, and 
asking himself if it could be done in a better way, he comes 
to learn the true value of labour and experiences the sweet- 
ness of possessing the power of resource. 

Now, this power of resource is the key with which every 
man must unlock his future. Be you what you may at this 
present hour, no one can tell to what you may be called ten 
years hence. The pages of biography are full of humble 
lives raised to eminence and vast usefulness to humanity, 
simply by the ability to use this power. In every life there 
come times when it is felt that a trial of strength has to be 
endured. If in the trial you are overweighted — if your 
resources are not equal to the occasion, you sink back 
to your level, and the feelings of despair creep upon you. 
The world looks like a huge piece of flint through which 
you cannot pierce, and you feel like lying in your hole and 
ceasing to bore any longer. The vast majority of men and 
women are like this. They eke out their lives hopeless of 
bettering their condition, because in all probability their 
environments and early education left in them but limited 
resources by which to climb higher than they are. The 
civilisation of which they form a part has the habit of 
appearing to such as the climax of the ages. What can 
there be more to improve ? they cry. At the end of this 



nineteenth century we are surely at the very pinnacle ! 
Our trains run at 70 miles an hour, our steamers join the 
two vast continents in six days, our streets and shops are 
illumined by electricity, our very sewage is swished out of 
our sight by simply touching a handle; let us eat, drink, and 
be merry, further advance is surely impossible! These folk 
are usually quite ready to believe the millennium is at hand. 
They forget that all these things are the products of two 
generations, and that everything is pointing to as great a 
revolution in all branches of applied science within the 
next two generations. Truly the " mills of God grind slow," 
but to men who can survey the fields of mechanics and 
chemistry there is the veritable appearance of speed, when 
consideration is given to the time since which these sciences 
were practically unknown. 

It is too often taken for granted by young men entering 
upon a trade that all has been discovered that is worth 
discovering. They do not put themselves in the attitude of 
the reformer. Especially to the plumber is the door open 
to greater things in the future than has been accomplished 
in the past. In a lecture I had the honour to deliver during 
last winter to the plumbers of the city I tried to show that 
the continual development of great cities called upon the 
plumber to further develop his powers of resource. Even 
the great water-carriage sewage system which your trade 
has carried to such perfection, and which every city in the 
world with levels at all is willingly adopting, is capable of 
much improvement. We have seen even in our own time 
a complete change in every piece of mechanism whereby 
our sewage is removed silently and safely out of our sight. 
Twenty years ago a flush of water in a water-closet was 
whatever the householder willed to make it, and even then 
our receptacles were far from being in a sanitary state. 
Now we have the wash-out and the wash-down water-closet 
clean flushed by two gallons of water, which two gallons is, 
or should be, quite out of the control of the citizen to mini- 
mise or amplify. True, I have, along- with others, called for 
three gallons, not because I would not prefer two, but 
simply because the drains at the bottom of your pipes are 



neither of the size nor of the level to safely permit of two 
gallons being employed. Take an example. A 4-inch drain 
set at an inclination of 1 in 40 should pass sewage through 
it at the rate of 4 feet a second, or 240 feet a minute. Its 
area being '0897 square feet, simple multiplication shows 
it can run off 151 gallons in that small portion of time, 
running full, or 21 cubic feet. So we see that no possible 
rainfall on the roof of a tenement, and including all that 
could be sent down sinks and water-closets in that brief 
space of time, could fail to be safely carried into the sewers 
by a well laid 4-inch pipe. But a 4-inch pipe is not a good 
carrier of ashpit refuse, scrubbing-brushes, and old boots, so 
your calculations are set at nought, and a 6-inch pipe 
(needless otherwise) has to be provided by proprietors. 

Again, the sewers are not unseldom at an insufficient 
depth to allow of a proper run in the drain, so a large pipe 
has to be adopted in order to minimise the friction in the 
pipe. Yet, remember, the larger your horizontal pipe, your 
wetted perimeter is the less, and so, without three gallons 
per flush, the depth of water in the drain becomes too small 
for floatage. Here then at the very threshold of your 
special e very-day avocations is a problem awaiting solution, 
viz., how best to convey all the waste water and sewage 
from any building with the minimum of material and the 
minimum waste of hydraulic power. It must always be 
remembered that two powerful reasons exist why a close 
study should be given in your calculations to the minimising 
of hydraulic waste. First, because water is yearly becoming 
a very valuable commodity. Taking Glasgow as an 
example, and supposing there are 50,000 water-closets in 
the city flushed each ten times in the twenty-four hours, 
we have, at 3 gallons per flush, a daily use of 1,500,000 
gallons. If, by good construction of basins, pipes, and drains, 
one gallon per flush can be saved, we conserve for other 
uses 500,000 gallons per day or 182,500,000 gallons in the 
year. Now, at the rate of Is. per 1000 gallons, this means 
a saving of £9125 per annum. We thus see how important 
it is that the best brains should be devoted to this problem. 
But the second reason is also of some importance. As you 



know, corporations all over the kingdom are now compelled 
to adopt schemes of sewage treatment and purification. 
Glasgow has made a brilliant beginning in the east-end, and 
before many years are past every drop of her sewage will 
be pumped, mixed, precipitated, and filtered before it passes 
on its journey to the sea. 

Now, I have calculated, from the annual report of the 
manager of the sewage works at Dalmarnock in the east-end, 
that the pumping, precipitating, and filtering of each million 
gallons of sewage treated there costs £2 15s. 6d., not by any 
means an exorbitant amount ; yet, if a two-gallon instead 
of a three-gallon flush were found feasible in the water- 
closets of our city, a saving would be effected of £506 8s. 9d., 
which capitalised at 3 per cent, is equivalent to £16,881. 
But we must take things as we find them, and with existing 
conditions the waste I have alluded to is in most circum- 
stances unavoidable. But with that better understanding 
of, and keener insight into, the theory of hydraulics which 
young plumbers are now receiving, I feel sure a change will 
come, and our domestic machinery will be driven with 
greater efficiency and at less cost to the community at large. 
^C Again, plumbers are becoming more and more concerned 
in the efficient distribution of hot water among the citizens. 
In our cold climate during four or five months of the year, 
a free distribution of cheap hot water is really a hygienic 
consideration. The great injunction " wash and be clean " 
is, I think, very inadequately obeyed by the vast mass of the 
population. Is this to be wondered at when the daily ablu- 
tions of thousands have to be performed during the winter 
months in water not far above the freezing point ? I fear it 
is not thoroughly understood by the well-to-do classes that 
our labouring people, aye, and even our lower middle class, are 
suffering from what I will term hot-water starvation. One 
man told me some time ago he had not had a bath for 40 years. 
That man was either a fool or a knave ; but I fear hundreds 
of people are satisfied with a " cat's wash " from November 
till March. Here, again, is a problem for the young plumber, 
viz., how to supply in the cheapest manner and with com- 
plete safety, in each household, a fair amount of heated 



8 

water. You all know the main principles at present 
underlying our present methods and generally the means 
adopted by boiler, hot- water tank, and circulating pipes, to 
yield this necessity of city life. It is beyond the means of 
the humble householder to adopt these means, and the man 
will be a public benefactor who discovers a simple and 
efficient remedy for this hot-water starvation. Here, again, 
a complete grasp of the principles of hot-water circulation, 
pressure reduction, friction in pipes, and heat absorption is 
all important to the student. The late loss of life by 
domestic boiler explosions during frost shows the necessity 
for urgent reform in our present system. To fully combat 
this danger, the principles of steam production and control 
must be mastered.' We have seen in late years giant strides 
made in the manufacture of water-tube boilers for manu- 
facturing and marine purposes. In these, when a burst 
occurs, the outlet of steam is limited to a small area, and a 
big and disastrous explosion is obviated, while the necessary 
repairs are inexpensively made. Where is our practicable 
water-tube domestic boiler ? It may lie in the brain of 
some young master of the plumbing craft, but that brain 
must have passed through the refining fire of a sound 
technical training. As we cannot " gather grapes of 
thorns nor figs from thistles," so also we cannot expect 
the solution of our civic and domestic problems by 
uneducated plumbers. 

In the new field of applied hydrodynamics the plumber, 
if he chooses, may soon find an important place. 

In our large cities an old giant is asserting his right to 
assist in doing us general service. Until quite recently 
hydraulic power was called into action in odd corners, to 
compress our bales and our tobacco, make our lead pipes, 
and occasionally to blow our organs and operate our hoists. 
Now it is about to be distributed through our principal 
streets. In London, Liverpool, Hull, and Birmingham 
plant was laid down some years ago to send water, com- 
pressed to 700 and 800 lbs. per square inch, to do duty in 
many different ways, and a few months ago Sir James 
Bell, our most esteemed Lord Provost, inaugurated the 



opening of the Glasgow Hydraulic Works in High Street 
from which this power will be dispensed at 1100 lbs. per 
square inch. The use and control of this giant power ought 
now to be studied by all young plumbers. It is quite 
certain that, with this high pressure, various small rotative 
motors will come into the market, such as impulse turbines, 
which, in a very simple and efficient manner, will take the 
power from the mains and drive the light machinery of our 
small factories and workshops, especially where the 
machinery is not in continuous use during the whole 
working clay. It must also be borne in mind that it will 
easily afford the means to small industries and large shop- 
keepers of generating such electric current as they require 
at night to light their premises with electric light. 
Experience has shown that small turbines, inexpensive and 
easily managed, will drive a small dynamo with great 
regularity of power and speed. Its uses in fact are 
innumerable, and the young plumber will be wise who so 
posts himself in the theory of high-pressure hydrodynamics 
as to be able not only to give practical advice to a customer, 
but to lay down a small motor and connect it to the 
Corporation mains and its exhaust to the drains. The new 
system of municipal hydraulics is in its infancy ; its 
applications are important and numerous. I would strongly 
urge upon you to hold on to this infant, because when he is 
become a full-grown man he will, or ought to, become a big 
blessing not only to the inhabitants of Glasgow but, and 
especially so, to the whole plumbing fraternity. 

Perhaps it will be considered fitting before I close that I 
should allude to a resolution which was passed at the 
congress of your trade recently held in Dumfries. 

There it was agreed that, other things being equal, a 
plumber was specially fitted to discharge the duties of a 
sanitary inspector. This proposition is based on the 
assumption that drainage and plumber work are among the 
important questions, if not the most important, a sanitary 
inspector has to consider. There can be no question that 
good drainage and water supplies are matters daily exercis- 
ing the sanitary official's mind, although whether they are 



10 

the most important of his many functions is open to debate. 
I mean it will not do for the young plumber to infer from 
the resolution that, because his hours of labour and his 
hours of leisure are devoted to plumbing, drainage, and the 
supply of water, he, of all tradesmen, must be most accept- 
able as an inspector. The words " other things being equal " 
have a most important bearing. I doubt not there are 
many here who have a desire to serve their country as 
sanitary inspectors, and I therefore will amplify a little on 
the words " other things being equal." It may assist you 
in your after studies to know what " other things " means. 

Now, in the first place, a solid and intimate acquaintance 
with the three R's, viz., reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, is 
absolutely essential. I intimated on a former occasion here 
that, in my opinion, young plumbers require to give special 
heed to such subjects. My opinions are not changed. The 
writing of reports in a fair hand, grammatically expressed 
and faultless in spelling, is one of a sanitary inspector's 
prime requisites. No assiduity in the study of drainage, 
ventilation, construction, and the sanitary law will compen- 
sate for a neglect of these too often neglected subjects. 
Aye ! and even were you to wish only to make substantial 
progress in your own trade — such knowledge is of the first 
importance. Plumbers' apprentices, I know, are very young 
when the} 7 enter upon their trade. Straight from the 
magnificent palaces of our School Board, they enter the 
shop, and begin the lowly service of the bolt-heater and 
general hanger - on. Too often, I fear, the proficiency 
acquired in school is lost through a lad forgetting that his 
proficiency will rust and decay if not kept bright and fresh 
by continued application. I know, by the experience of a 
long apprenticeship, the temptation to forget, and simply 
float upon the leisure hours which follow the day of toil. 
A more insidious temptation does not lie in your path ; but, 
like all other temptations, it must be conquered. Your 
reading, writing, and arithmetic are the foundations of 
your life work. Unless these foundations are hard and 
solid and permanent, the superstructure you all desire to 
raise will be partial and disappointing. 



11 

Another matter I would urge upon you all is that of 
drawing, or the correct and proportionate delineation upon 
paper of objects you see, and the showing of these objects 
in cross and longitudinal section. To the plumber this will 
more and more become important, and to the sanitary 
inspector it is invaluable. The cultivation of this faculty 
lends a power to the student which fits him for positions 
unattainable without it. When acquired, he may proceed 
in a remarkable way to utilise his gifts of imagination if 
he has any. Necessity is truly the mother of invention ; 
but necessity, like many other mothers, is none the worse 
of a mother's help, and one of her best helpers is drawing. 
Moreover, drawing is fortunately one of these studies which 
yields, in its pursuit, a peculiar interest and pleasure. As 
the faculty to delineate grows, the pleasure increases, the 
imagination is fired, and original creation becomes possible. 
Man is a creator as well as a creature. He creates in the 
sense of utilising in hundreds of waye, before unheard of 
and unknown, the infinite resources of God's creation, 
Nature; and those who work among the material substances, 
and put them into shape for the use of their brother men, 
are especially the people to whom the power of the pencil 
is one both beneficent and profitable. Therefore, let not a 
single figure or section exhibited by your teacher, Mr. 
Fulton, either on paper or on the blackboard remain 
untransferred to your note books. Never mind how crude 
or ungainly your attempt at first may be. Proficiency at 
last will come to the faithful student, and proficiency will 
bring in its train a sense of power, and greatly enhance 
your store of resource. 

I also direct your attention to a general consideration of 
such subjects as ventilation, heating, the elements of 
chemistry particularly in their relation to water, air, and 
food. You will require to possess some intelligent notions 
as to infectious diseases, their causation, characteristics, and 
hygienic treatment, the treatment of sewage and domestic 
refuse, the diseases of cattle — particularly of cows and 
swine — and, lastly, you ought to acquire a fair understanding 
of sanitary law. On all these subjects you will be examined 



12 

when you go to pass for your certificate before the Sanitary 
Association of Scotland. Without that certificate in your 
possession, or some equivalent diploma in the elements of 
sanitary science, neither plumbers, joiners, masons, nor any 
other class of tradesmen have much hope, in these days, of 
becoming sanitary inspectors. The only " Open Sesame " 
of any avail at the door of position and influence is 
knowledge. She is the latch-key each one of you must 
have in the pockets of his brain. 

One other thing must ever be in your remembrance, viz., 
that your own physical health is a prime factor in the 
estimate of your future success. Poverty is nothing. 
Perhaps you will be inclined to smile when I say that being 
born without the proverbial " silver spoon " in your mouths 
is immensely in your favour. Run up in your memory the 
names of the brightest and most successful men in our 
modern history and you will find nearly every one of them 
began life in the most humble circumstances. Merchants, 
manufacturers, engineers, professional men, inventors, 
railway magnates, a,ye, millionaires, bear out this general 
truth. And the converse of this is not less true, viz., that 
those to whom a fortune has been bequeathed in their 
youth are often children of the deepest misfortune. But 
you must have health and vigour. Anything you do, 
either by commission or omission, to reduce the full flow of 
good blood in your veins, will tell against you in the fight. 
Hindrances will come in your path, which will need all 
your power to remove, but which can be removed by him 
who has all his vital powers in full play. As Napoleon 
Bonaparte said — " All the great captains have performed 
vast achievements by conforming with the rules of the art, 
by adjusting efforts to obstacles." When efforts cannot be 
adjusted to obstacles it implies imbecility, and we all know 
that imbecility, either of mind or body, must drift help- 
lessly about until it sinks hopeless to the bottom of life. 
Public health is composed of the many atoms of private 
health. No one can have too much vitality ; most people 
have too little or just what serves them for each day's 
routine. Such cannot possibly be great, nor win a prize in 



13 

the great struggle of the " survival of the fittest/' I hope 
all of you will ponder this grand universal truth, and that 
as years go on some of you, through attending those classes 
here, will rise by energy and perseverance to be men of 
influence and worth. 

At the conclusion of the lecture, which was listened to with rapt 
attention, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Mr. Fyfe, on 
the motion of Mr. R. D. Munro, seconded by Mr. Fulton. 
Councillor Steele, Mr. John Young, and Mr. Francis M'Culloch, 
thereafter addressed the students, and the proceedings terminated 
with a cordial vote of thanks to the chairman, proposed by Mr. 
John Gordon, LA. 



HOUSING 



LABOURING CLASSES. 



A LECTURE 

DELIVERED BEFORE THE GLASGOW AND WEST OF SCOTLAND 
ARCHITECTURAL CRAFTMEN'S SOCIETY 



PETEE EYFE, F.R.S.E., 

Chief Sanitary Inspector, Glasgow. 




PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE CORPORATION OF 
THE CITY OF GLASGOW 

BY 

ROBERT ANDERSON, 22 ANN STREET, GLASGOW. 
1899. 



HOUSING OF THE LABOUEING CLASSES. 



January, 1899. 



TO choose a subject which rnay be instructive as well as 
interesting to a select audience is a difficult task, es- 
pecially when the lecturer is himself not one versed 
in the history, progress, and technique of the noble art 
of which his hearers are the votaries. To you whose life study 
is architecture — to you who are daily thinking of how to combine 
the beautiful and proportionate with the practical and economical 
in modern building construction, and nightly dreaming of tne 
stones of Venice, the Pantheon of Rome, or the Athenian 
Acropolis, nothing I could say on these subjects would be useful 
or new. I thought, therefore, to take a subject near to the heart 
of every thinking man in these days — nearer to you. perhaps, as 
citizens than as architects, but yet touching you and your pro- 
fession on many sides. The Housing of the Labouring 
Classes is deserving of your study. Municipal authorities all 
over our kingdoms are darkly groping after a policy which will 
end the acknowledged unsatisfactory state of affairs, and at the 
same time place the poorer classes in healthy, comfortable houses 
without encroaching upon their feeling of independence. In this 
city, as in others, the question is pressing, and as you are the men 
who very shortly must consider all the necessities and difficulties 
of the problem, I propose to-night to address you on some of 
these. But I would also seek to fire your hearts with sympathy 
for the whole subject. In order to do this I must try to show 
you how the great mass of our poor live — where they live — why 
they should not live as they do — and where and under what 
circumstances they ought to live. In order to help you to a clear 
perception of the problem as it is put before us in Glasgow, it will 
be necessary to lead you for a few minutes upon a consideration of 
the legal aspects, because, over and beyond the dictates of sympathy 
and humanity, stand the imperative demands of the law. It is 
now forty-seven years since the first of the Shaftesbury Acts was 



promulgated dealing with the proper lodging of the labouring 
classes. These were in turn succeeded, in 1868, by the Torrens 
Acts for the provision of suitable houses for artizans ; and in 
1875 what is known as the Cross's Aets were passed, giving 
legislative improvements in the same direction. All these led up 
to the Housing of the Working Classes Act of 1885, which in 
turn was almost entirely supplanted by the Act of 1890 bearing 
the same designation. This important Act is divided into four 
divisions, and has seven schedules attached to it. The first and 
second divisions need only be considered, as they deal with the 
powers to be exercised by local authorities (1) over unhealthy 
areas and (2) unhealthjr dwelling-houses. 

In Glasgow. Part I., dealing with unhealthy areas, has been a 
dead letter, because, firstly, the '■ official representation " to the 
local authority must show that "the sanitary defects in such 
areas cannot be effectually remedied otherwise than by an improve- 
ment scheme for the rearrangement and reconstruction of the 
streets and houses within such areas, or of some of such streets or 
houses ; " secondly, because the late Police Clerk^ Mr. Lang, 
reported, inter alia, in 1895 — "The legal process provided by this 
part of the Act is tedious, circumlocutory, uncertain, and ex- 
pensive ; " and, thirdly, because the Corporation has an Improve- 
ment Trust Committee whose special function is to arrange and 
carry through large city improvement schemes when such become 
necessary, and this committee invariably pruceeds by scheduling 
such areas and securing the necessary statutory powers for their 
reconstruction by means of a local Act. 

Even the County Council of London, which has done much 
work under the Act, has only carried out three schemes under 
Part I., namely («) that at Boundary Street, Bethnal Green, by 
which fifteen acres of narrow streets, courts, and alleys were 
acquired and destroyed, at a net cost to the ratepayers of 
£280,000; (b) the Glare Market Scheme of 1898 : estimated to 
cost £216,500; and (c) the Church way (St. Pancras) Scheme, 
costing £39,150. These three sehemes will displace 9,843 persons 
from their houses. 

Glasgow has done nothing. We need not, therefore, occupy 
time discussing legal powers which in this city have had no 
practical result either in unhousing or rehousing those of the 
labouring classes who dwell in insanitary areas. 



The case is different when we come to Part II. Under this 
pare of the Act, which affects insanitary dwelling-houses and 
smaller areas than are pointed at under Part I., good, useful work 
may and has been done. It should be noted that here the 
expression " dwelling-house " means " any inhabited building, 
and includes any yard, garden, out-houses, and appurtenances 
belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith, and includes the 
site of the dwelling-house as so defined." 

The initiation of the procedure necessary under this part of the 
Act compares very favourably with that under Part I. Under 
the latter no one has the duty of representation or certification 
put upon him. The whole of the gigantic and costly machinery 
may lie rusting while the people are suffering, and blame can 
attach to no individual. The ail-important duty of setting its 
powers in motion does not lie with the Medical Officer of Health 
until " two or more Justices of the Peace within the district, or 
twelve ratepayers, complain to him of the unhealthiness of any 
area." The lighter and less complex machinery of Part II. is. 
however, placed under the immediate care of the Medical Officer 
of Health, as the Act here distinctly states " it shall be the duty 
of the Medical Officer of Health of every district to represent to 
the local authority of that district any dwelling-house which 
appears to him to be in a state so dangerous or injurious to health 
as to be unfit for human habitation." This is Section 30. 

The following section (31) applies the spur to laggard duty, as 
under it any four householders dwelling near the street in which 
the insanitary dwelling-house is situated may, by writing to the 
Medical Officer, compel him to report to the local authority, and, 
if nothing be done under the Act, these same householders, after 
waiting for three months, may legally petition the Local Govern- 
ment Board for an inquiry. 

It will thus be seen that every responsible citizen whose 
interests or amenities may be prejudiced by the proximity of any 
unwholesome and insanitary building which is inhabited has 
distinct rights given to him by the Legislature. A little con- 
sideration will show the reasonableness of this provision. 

It seems to be one of the great laws of city growth that, in the 
closely-packed areas near the centre, decay, once started in a 
property, proceeds with alarming rapidity towards rottenness. 
Proofs, walls, windows, doors, and floors, having served their day 



and generation, like the worn-out organs of aged humanity, refuse 
any longer to do their work — refuse to be patched up — and await 
dissolution. But, unlike the old and done man, there is no respite 
for the old property. On the contrary, the older it becomes the 
more work it srets to do. Whereas fiftv or sixtv vears a«o it 
sheltered the family of the merchant prince or well-to-do trades- 
man, it has, by deterioration and unwise sub-division, to do the 
same duty for four or five families of the artizan. Time passes : 
and as the patchwork and repair of this reconstruction become 
worn and dilapidated, it falls in commercial value to the level 
which only the labourer and the casual worker can pay. A short 
time now brings it to its last and most degrading duty. Rotten in 
the ceilings and walls, open in the flooring, with rattling windows 
and tottering doors, it stands at last, neglected by owner and tenant 
alike, the uninhabitable dwelling-house — -the haunt of poor un- 
fortunates and the degraded — the home of the flotsam and jetsam of 
the city. Those who dwell or have business premises near it are 
now in danger. Ill health and evil manners are born and bred in 
it now. Both are contagious, and tend to eorrupt the surround- 
ings, consequently the Government has enacted that any four 
householders may protect themselves by written complaint to the 
Medical Officer of Health, and so bring about the destruction of a 
property which, like the worn-out old horse, it is painful to see 
doing further labour. 

There is another class of property regarding which the citizen 
has powers of initiative granted him under this part of the Act, 
viz., the obstructive building. Here, again, the four householders 
may make a similar representation, but this time not to the 
Medical Officer of Health, but to the local authority itself, 
which for this purpose means its Town or Police Clerk. Now, 
what is an obstructive building 1 ? The Act says any kind of 
building whatsoever which " stops ventilation, or otherwise makes 
or conduces to make such other buildings to be in a condition 
unfit for human habitation or injurious to health;" or, in the 
second place, if "it prevents proper measures from being carried 
into effect for remedying any nuisance injurious to health or other 
evils complained of in respect of such other buildings. " It appears 
fairly clear that this most important part of the Act (Section 38) 
strikes at that class of structures known in every city as back 
buildings, whether these buildings are used as dwelling-houses or 



stores or manufactories. It is of no avail to argue that former 
law or want of law permitted of their erection. Standing, as they 
do, on the natural court or back yard of the dwelling-houses in 
front, preventing air and light, and proper ground space for ash- 
pits and conveniences, they stand condemned ; but the loose law 
of former years and vested rights must here be recognised, and 
consequently, unless the obstructive building is itself unfit for 
human habitation, the owner of it may claim compensation, under 
arbitration, which may fall to be paid by adjoining proprietors 
whose properties have been improved and increased in value by 
its demolition. 

I need hardly say there are many such obstructive buildings 
still in Glasgow. In only two cases has this part of the Act been 
applied here — namely, in Muirhead Street and St. Ninian Street 
on the South Side — and in neither case did the question of com- 
pensation arise, as both these back buildings were in themselves 
uninhabitable, and, moreover, belonging to the owners who 
held the front properties. Otherwise this useful and powerful 
section has been untried. Perhaps the main cause is the difficulty 
of acquiring of the site upon which the obstructive building 
is built. If the owner of the building does not wish to retain the 
site, which it is unlikely he would wish to do, unless he could 
erect another payable building on it, the burden of purchasing it 
falls exclusively on the local authority, who could only use it as 
an open spaee, and that without any power to claim compensation 
therefor as betterment against adjoining proprietors whose property 
would thereby be improved. 

The weakness in this part of the Act, therefore, forces local 
authorities into larger schemes of improvement, and impels them 
to endeavour to acquire both the back obstructive property and 
that one in front of it, rather than pay for a site at the expense 
of the ratepayers generally which would immediately benefit but a 
small section of them, and, most of all, the contiguous owners. 

True, we have the following section (39), which gives all local 
authorities power to acquire the whole of such areas, and 
appropriate them for the erection of dwellings for the working 
classes, but we need not occupy time discussing this very important 
section, as Glasgow invariably prefers to proceed with a local 
Bill for such purposes, rather than adopt the circumlocutory 
methods prescribed by the general Act. 



The London County Council and the Vestries have, however, 
proceeded in fifteen cases under Part II. of this Act, displacing 
5,082 persons, and intend to provide new dwellings for 3,766 of 
those displaced, at a total estimated cost of £222,323 18s. 5d. 

We now come to a part of such schemes, the importance of 
which in a large city dare not be overlooked, viz. : — the rehousing 
of the labouring classes which have been, or should be, unhoused 
by schemes of demolition and improvement. 

This phase of the problem has become so acute that it formed 
at the recent Sanitary Conferences in Dublin and Birmingham 
the principal topic of discussion. Necessarily at such meetings 
the discussions proceed on general and broad lines ; but the extreme 
urgency of the matter in all large cities, and particularly in our 
own, impels me to ask your forbearance while I attempt to examine 
the whole subject in detail, and endeavour to lay down from 
experience, and from facts and figures kindly given me by 
several gentlemen of experience, a basis for guidance and future 
action. 

Part I. of the Act we have been considering makes it essential 
that houses be erected -on or near the ground from which the 
people have been displaced. Part II., dealing with small areas, 
does not make provision for rehousing compulsory, but the 
London County Council Committee appointed to deal with this 
question passed at the end of last November two most important 
resolutions, which have since been adopted by the whole Council. 
viz., — (1) ;! That housing accommodation should be provided for 
a number of persons equal to that of the working classes displaced 
by any scheme under the Housing of the Working Classes Act. 
1890, or under the provisions of any Improvement Act, but not 
necessarily in the immediate neighbourhood of the displacement, 
due consideration being given to the needs of those living on any 
particular area ; " and (2) under Part III. of the Act, which 
gives them powers to buy land and build thereon for the purpose of 
increasing the supply of house accommodation, they recommend — 
" That, apart from the rehousing required in connection with 
clearance or improvement schemes, the Council do approve of 
action being taken under Part III. of the Housing of the Working 
Classes Act, 1890, with a view to the purchase of land and the 
erection of dwellings thereon for the purpose of supplying housing 
accommodation." 



9 

This committee also emphasise the necessity of building for 
the poorest classes much cheaper structures than they hitherto 
have done, and point out that under Part III. their plans 
do not require to be submitted to any government department, 
which invariably causes an unnecessarily high standard of work 
to be adopted. 

On examining the rents of the one and two apartment houses 
they have already built, one is at once struck with the impossi- 
bility of the real labouring classes ever being able to pay them ; 
and when I say the " real labouring classes," I mean those whose 
weekly earnings range from 17s. to 25s. Only in one block am 
I able to find any houses fitted for the means of such persons, viz., 
that in Dufferin Street, where a one-apartment house ranges from 
2s. to 2s. 9d. per week, and a two-apartment house from 4s. to 
4s. 6d. a week, and of these there are only 29 of the former and 
23 of the latter. In all their other blocks the rents range from 
3s. 6d. to 5s. a week for each single-apartment house, and from 
4s. 6d. to 8s. a week for two-apartment houses. These are 
impossible rents for the great mass of our labourers and poorer 
classes generally, and I am happy to say we can show a better 
record than this in Glasgow. It might be said in passing that, 
through the courtesy of the secretaries and managers of various 
dwellings companies in London, I have been favoured with much 
information as to the rents these companies charge for their 
houses, but only in the case of buildings erected under the 
Peabody Donation Fund can I find single-roomed houses rented 
as low as 2s. to 2s. 3d. weekly, and two-roomed houses at 3s. 3d. 
to 3s. 6d. weekly — the latter, though low, being, in my judgment, 
more than a labouring man or a poor person in Glasgow can 
conveniently pay for house accommodation. All the other 
companies are based upon the plan of returning a full com- 
pensation to the capitalist, while providing houses yielding 
increased comfort and convenience for the labouring classes, and 
hence it may, from experience, be almost accepted as an axiom 
that where " full profits " are demanded by the capitalist on the 
money he lends for the proper housing of the labourer, the labourer 
must pay a rent out of due proportion to his average income. By 
the words "full profit" I mean any rate of interest above 4 per cent. 

Now, what may be fairly considered the " due proportion " 
which a labouring man or a poor person should pay out of his 

B 



10 

weekly wage for rent ? From an inquiry which was conducted 
by Professor Mahaim in the town of Liege in Belgium, extending 
over 1,276 representative houses, it was found that while the 
average household income of each tenant was 17s. 4^d. per week, 
the average rent paid by each was 2s. 3|d. per week. As this repre- 
sented a payment by the labourer of 14 per cent, of his wages for 
house rent, Professor Mahaim stated he considered this proportion 
too high. In conducting a similar inquiry among the tenants of 
our ticketed houses in Glasgow, I caused an investigation to be 
made (1) of the present number of these houses of our poorer 
classes, (2) of the cubic feet of air space each contains, (3) of the 
rents paid in each case, and (4) of the weekly wage earned by such 
households. Of course, it will be understood that the last return, 
being personal in its character and based on information given by 
the tenants themselves, allows room for error, yet I believe it is 
approximately correct. 

I think we may claim that the 78,300 persons now inhabiting 
the ticketed houses are mainly our poorer respectable labouring 
classes, mingled with that unfortunate residue of drunkards, 
prostitutes, and ne'er-do-weels generally, which unhappily infest, 
like a canker-worm, the populous centres of all large cities. 
There are besides these 78,300 as many as 361,298 men, women, 
and children in this city dwelling in one and two apartment 
houses which are not ticketed. 

At this present day in Glasgow there are 14,946 single-room 
ticketed dwellings sheltering about 49,000 inhabitants, and 6.283 
two-roomed ticketed dwellings occupied by 29,300. These are the 
people who sit precariously in their homes, liable as time proceeds 
to be ousted therefrom by the edict of the Health Committee, or by 
a future improvement scheme launched and carried out by the 
Improvement Trustees. The average cubic air space of these 
14,946 one-apartment houses is 1,323, or legally sufficient for three 
adults, or two adults and two children under 10 years old. The 
average rent paid for these dwellings is 8s. 2^d. per month, rang- 
ing from 7s. 9d. per month in the Central District and in Mary- 
hill, up to 9s. 2d. per month on the south side of the river Clyde. 

Ten years ago there were 16.413 of such houses, with an 
average rent of 7s. lid. per month. 

The 6,283 two-apartment ticketed houses contain, on the 
average, 1,848 cubic feet of air space, and are rented at 10s. lOd. 



11 

a month, ranging from 10s. Id. and 10s. 2d. in Maryhill and the 
Central District respectively, up to lis. 10|d. in the Western 
District of the city. Such houses may legally accommodate four 
adults and one child, or two adults and five children under 10 
years of age. 

Ten years ago the number of such houses was 6,613, rented, on 
the average, at 10s. 3d. per month. 

All such rents include payment for stair gas and water. These 
rents, reduced to weekly payments, are respectively — one room, 
Is. lOfd. per week; two rooms, 2s. 6d. per week. 

The average household earnings per week of the one-apartment 
house tenant is found to be £1 0s. 6|d.. and of the two apart- 
ment tenant £1 6s. 5|d. 

Working out these average figures, we find that our poor are 
paying 9^ per cent, of their earnings in the one case and 9^ per 
cent, in the other for house accommodation. Taking this against 
Professor Mahaim's 14 per cent, as found at Liege. Glasgow may 
be congratulated. But we must not deduce too much from 
averages. We cannot forget that the houce accommodation 
under consideration is of the meanest description, much of it in 
back lands, where the air is confined and polluted, where light 
enters only indirectly, and where outlook or window view is 
restricted to a stone or brick wall from eight to fourteen feet 
distant. Moreover, the average figures placed as the labourers' 
income is greatly disturbed by persons found living in these 
houses who are not poor labourers, but are tradesmen and artizans 
of the better class, whose household weekly earnings run from 
30s. up to 66s. Private landlords do not make any enquiry into 
the earnings of their tenants, further than to assure themselves, as 
best they may, that the monthly rent can be paid in advance. 
Hence we find numerous examples of men and their families 
in ticketed one-apartment houses who earn such weekly wages, 
while in the two-apartment houses it is common. It is next to 
impossible to offer a true explanation of the conduct of men who, 
with 35s. to 45s. weekly, condemn their little ones to a life in the 
unwholesome slum. So far, legislation has not forced upon the 
citizen 'his duty in this respect to his children. He must not be 
cruel, the law says ; but what more terrible cruelty, prolonged and 
vitiating both to soul and body, can be imagined than the crime 
of housing his young in the ticketed dens of the back lands by a 



12 

wretch who earns more than enough to give them the inestimable 
boon of house-room in the free air and sunlight. It is well. I 
think, that the poet's voice should be heard wailing a warning. 
In " Locksley Hall " Tennyson cries — 

" Is it well that while we range, with Science glorying in the Time, 
City children soak and blacken soiu and sense in city slime ? " 

Gentlemen, it is not the imagination of the poet that speaks 
alone. Would to Heaven that it were ! But here we are dealing 
with hard facts — facts of e very-day observation — facts patent 
to every man and woman who chooses to enter the threshold of 
the dissolute artizan. Well may we ask ourselves, why does 
legislation tarry 1 Is science blinded by her own light 1 Is the 
freedom of the citizen to be saved even at the expense of the 
health and lives of his children 1 While asking ourselves these 
questions, the greater question looms large and foreboding enough, 
why are those dwellings existing at ail, to which, dismal and un- 
wholesome, these men may drag their wives and offspring 1 Why 
are even the poorer labourer and the casual worker compelled by 
their own or outside circumstances to resort to homes such as we 
have described, such as may be seen by any of us any day. Such 
is the question that is ringing at present through the land. It 
was asked last summer by many voices in Dublin at the Conference 
of the Royal Institute of Public Health. It was asked last 
autumn in Birmingham at the Conference of the Sanitary Institute. 
It was asked last month at the Glasgow Philosophical Society by 
my friend, Mr. John Mann. In each case the solution of the 
question was the same, viz., that corporations, municipal authorities, 
sanitary authorities, must wrestle with the problem, close all in- 
sanitary houses, and build labourers' dwellings, light, airy, and 
wholesome, and rent them at rates within the paying capacity of 
the poor, and this even at the risk of a deficit, to be made up out 
of the general rates. Before endeavouring to lay down a basis 
for the solution of this great problem on lines of experience, and 
as exactly as the science of land and house rent will allow, I ask 
your attention to the present position in this city and to correlative 
facts surrounding the occupancy of the one and two apartment 
houses here. 

In Glasgow there are now, I am informed by Mr. Henrv, 
69,000 two-apartment houses and 36,000 one-apartment houses, 
or, in all, 105,000 such humble dwellings, estimated to contain 



13 

439,598 of our total population of 700,382 souls. He also informs 
me that at a very recent surrey 1,500 of the former houses and 
1,200 of the latter were found unoccupied. But out of this total 
of 2,700 unoccupied houses only 480 are rented at £Q per annum 
and under. Putting 10 per cent, of their earnings as the amount 
labouring men may reasonably be expected to spend in house rent, 
we find the above number of unlet houses is all that they could 
find if the authorities, either as Health Committee or Improvement 
Trustees, closed the doors of their present cheap abodes. More- 
over, if we look at the problem sectionally, it is found that any 
sensible disturbance of these people in certain districts would be 
calamitous. For examine, on the south side of the river there are 
only 36 such low-rented houses, while in the whole west end of 
the city, from Buchanan Street and Port-Dundas Road, excluding 
Maryhill. there are only 82. 

These facts show how fatuous it is to speak about the Health 
Authorities carrying forward meantime a strenuous closing policy 
until blocks of sanitary dwellings are provided for the people to 
be disturbed. No one with an intimate knowledge of the remain- 
ing slums of the city, and the dark, dismal apartments to be found 
there, could withstand the conviction that much clearing work 
still remains to be done, but presently our hands are stayed. 
Since the year 1890, when special powers were given to the Health 
Committee to close insanitary houses, about 600 have been closed, 
and 1,500 persons have been scattered to find such dwellings as 
they could. But latterly the task has been a painful one, in the 
face of the appeals of the poor people, and their sad anxiety born 
of the growing difficulty to find a new house at a rent low enough 
for their means. 

While endeavouring to show that the Corporation should at 
once proceed to build suitable blocks of labourers' dwellings at low 
rents, I also wish to clear away any impression that such dwellings 
ought to be erected for and tenanted by the dissolute and profligate 
of our lower population. I know that is the notion of some social 
reforrnei'S in industrial housing. A little reflection will show even 
the most ardent reformer that for those whose habits of life are 
known and proved to be vicious and destructive, no person, not 
even a benevolent municipality, can safely provide good and 
habitable houses. Why should the general ratepayers provide 
wholesome dwellings for the lazv, the drunkards, and the thieves 



14 

among the population and their families'? There could only be 
two reasons, viz. : — 1st, because they would, at any rate, be 
sanitarily housed, and therefore cease to some extent to be a 
menace to the public health ; and, 2nd, they would be so gathered 
together and placed under supervision that vice and crime would 
be checked, and the poorhouses and the jails would not be so full, 
and thus less costly to keep up. 

Doubtless the cost to the ratepayers is enormous for hospitals, 
disinfection, and poorhouses, while to keep our habitual prisoners 
in jail involves a heavy yearly expenditure. Few perhaps realise 
the heavy financial burden laid on the city for hospital treatment 
and disinfection, much of which, though irreducible to a true 
percentage, is due to insanitary housing. In thinking over this 
part of the problem I imagined it might be useful to get at the 
facts. After much labour on the part of my assistants, the 
following are the facts for the year 1897. Out of a population of 
117,763 dwelling in one-apartment houses in Glasgow, 1,019 were 
removed to hospital suffering from infectious disease, or 86 per 
10,000. Out of a population of 321,835 dwelling in two- 
apartment houses, 2.340 were so removed, or 72 per 10,000; 
while for all the remainder of the population, numbering 260,784, 
1,312 were treated in hospital, or. 50 per 10,000. 72 per cent., 
therefore, of the total removals to our infectious disease hospitals 
come from the one and two apartment houses, and the cost of 
keeping and treating them there amounted to the respectable 
total of £21,837 13s. lid. It is, of course, impossible to say how 
much of this large expense is due to the conditions under which 
our poorer classes are living, but no man doubts that a large 
proportion of it could be saved were the people dwelling in healthy 
homes, instead of houses unworthy of the name of homes. Again, 
from whence come those thousands who fill our poorhouses ? 
Are these not they who come, through misfortune, disease, death, 
or drink, from the houses we are treating of ? 

In Barnhill at present there are - - 1,055 

In Parliamentary Road ,, - - - 1,591, and 

Iu Govan Combination ,, - - - 571 . 



Or a total of - 2,217 persons, 



all drawn from this city, and costing per annum for food and 
clothing alone the sum of £18,084. How much of this may be 



15 

truly laid at the door of slum-land no one can pretend to state, 
but, on the other hand, it is a certainty to my mind that existence 
in the cheerless apartments of back-land city blocks lies at the 
root of a large percentage of poverty as well as of ill health. In 
fact the former is, among such people, a product of the latter. 

From the same class are mostly drawn those who fill our jails. 
Here also a heavy drain is placed on the resources of the com- 
munity. Through the courtesy of the governors of Duke Street 
and Barlinnie Prisons I learn that 19,756 were admitted to these 
prisons from Glasgow during 1897 under varying terms of 
imprisonment. As each prisoner costs £2 lis. lOd. per annum 
for food alone, a simple calculation shows that the common funds 
for that year were depleted for feeding these persons to the 
extent of £2,902 13s. Crime closely dogs the footsteps of 
poverty, poverty follows hard on the trail of drunkenness or 
disease, and drunkenness and disease lurk most readily and 
naturally in city areas -where the population is packed together in 
ill-ventilated and dismal dwellings. More we cannot prove, 
because we have no exact, data, but every thinking man realises 
the terrible facts. 

Still, with all this in full view, I do not think a city corpora- 
tion or any other could fairly be called upon to build houses for 
drunkards or criminals. If a man or woman, thriftless, careless, 
and dissolute, will not iive the life of a decent, honest citizen, 
then he or she has no claim whatever to a decent, honest house ; 
and when there ceases to be in our city anything but such 
houses, these persons must, by the laws both divine and human, 
fall away into the outer darkness of our poorhouses or prisons 
until their reformation comes, or flee to some other town where 
slums continue to exist for their use. 

But there are two classes closely mixed up with these I have 
been speaking about, for whom every municipality should care in 
the most sedulous manner, viz., the respectable poor who have 
some furniture, and those who, through stress of circumstances or 
ill health, have had gradually to sell off their belongings, and are 
left with little or no domestic stock-in-trade. Of the first class 
little need be said. They are for the most part the dumb class, 
fighting with poverty in silence — people whose small houses, ill 
situated as they are and full of defects, are yet clean, and often 
bright with plates, cups, saucers, and cheap glasses shining on the 



16 

shelves. Only when closely pressed are their poverty and com- 
plaints made manifest, and, painfully aware of their circumstances, 
and grieved at the rowdiness of neighbours unlike themselves, 
these " rather bear the ills they have than fly to others that they 
know not of." Of the second class a few words are necessary, 
because they are a recent growth in Glasgow, creatures of sad 
circumstances, often of their own making, but, nevertheless, inex- 
pressibly sad. When, through death of the breadwinner, or his 
prolonged illness or failing health, or loss of steady employment, 
or, as often happens, through the drunken habits of one of the 
domestic partners, the scanty furniture melts away into the pawn- 
shop, the family stand on the very verge of poverty. They cannot 
get a house, they have little or nothing to put into it, and con- 
sequently they fall into the hands of the house-farmer, who is the 
small capitalist of this unfortunate class, and who demands full — 
very full — profits for his accommodation. A hasty survey of the 
city recently revealed the existence of 366 separate houses of this 
class, lodging 1,680 of these, the poorest of the poor. What is 
going on is as follows : — A house-farmer rents a whole building 
from the owners at rents averaging about 7s. 6d. per month per 
single apartment, and puts into each apartment a bed, bedding, 
grate, fender, kettle, pots, a frying-pan, a table, two chairs, cups 
and saucers, plates, knives and forks, spoons, oil lamp, a jug, a 
pail, a basin, a scrubbing brush, a shovel, and a few other odds 
and ends. Several inventories have been taken of such furnishings, 
and a liberal estimate of their total value would be forty shillings 
per set. These furnished apartments are let to the sub-tenants at 
5s. per week on the average, paid in advance. Now, I am going 
to assume that the farmer requires to refurnish each such house 
every six months, which would cost him 80s. per annum, which, 
added to his average yearly rent for it, would bring his yearly 
expenditure up to 170 shillings per room. For this he draws at 
the rate of 260 shillings per annum, which returns him 53 per 
cent, on his outlay. If this be not usury, levied on the poorest 
and most unfortunate of our free population, I don't know what it 
could be called. Of course, it is admittedly a risky business, 
requiring constant personal oversight to prevent destruction and 
moonlight flittings in many cases, yet, withal, it involves these 
people in a mesh, out of which, once caught, they can hardly hope 
ever to escape, and completely bars the way to their possessing 



17 

again, without benevolent help, the means to furnish a home of 
their own. I hardly require to point the moral of this tale to the 
large-hearted and benevolent among our wealthy citizens, and so I 
leave it. 

We now come to the main question, viz., — Can sanitary dwell- 
ings for the labouring classes be erected and rented to them at a 
tenth part or thereby of their total earnings without involving the 
undertakers in financial loss 1 To answer this question we must 
not theorise, but take such experiences as are afforded us from 
well-known blocks of such houses existing in the city. I have 
accordingly selected nine blocks of tenements belonging to three 
classes of owners, viz.,- — three belonging to the Corporation ; three 
belonging to the Glasgow Workmen's Dwellings Company ; and 
three belonging to private proprietors. These it will be con- 
venient to number 1, 2, and 3 for the first, 4, 5, and 6 for the 
second, and 7, 8, and 9 for the third. In order to solve the 
problem and keep in constant touch with the labourers' wage, I 
have reduced evexything to the level of a weekly rent, and, 
further, for purposes of strict scientific comparison. I have 
abandoned the varying unit of the house, and have taken in every 
case the unit of 1,000 cubic feet of free airspace in each house, 
which, as you know, is the legal minimum allowed for all houses 
to be built after 1892. A house for the labouring and poor 
classes may mean anything from 1,000 to 2,000 cubic feet of 
space, and as air space to dwell in is the all-important thing for 
the labourer and his family, it is on this basis my inquiry rests. 
It will become obvious as ws proceed that what are the facts 
about 1,000 cubic feet of house room are the identical facts about 
the whole house, about every house in the various blocks, and 
also about the whole block of houses dealt with. It becomes in 
each case simply a matter of multiplication by the number of 
available cubic feet in any part or in the whole, and by the 
number of weeks in a year, to arrive at the exact sum paid or due 
under each heading. It will be plain to all that to buy or build 
house property and rent it to tenants so that no immediate loss 
will result, four main conditions must be met. Provision must 
be made for meeting (1) the ground rent ; (2) the interest on cost 
of building ; (3) the outlays for management, owners' taxes, and 
fire insurance; and (4) for actual repairs on the property. Any- 
thing which is left over after discharging these obligations may 

c 



18 

be used to meet future loss due to property depreciation, whieh 
may be called a sinking fund, a redemption fund, a reserve fund, 
or other suitable name, and what thereafter remains may be 
justly deemed available as profit or surplus over and above the 
bare interest a corporation or society or individual has to pay the 
capitalist for borrowed money. It is evident at the threshold of 
the inquiry that we must fix two things, viz.,— our standard of 
ground rent and our standard of bare interest on building capital. 
It matters little for the future usefulness of the rent diagrams 
and tables attached hereto what standard we adopt, as additions or 
deductions per 1,000 cubic feet per week can easily be made from 
any given basis, but for purposes of exact comparison these two 
must be laid down on parallel lines. 

Now, first, as to ground rent, I have taken each site as costing 
30s. per square yard, and the ground burden or rent, to be covered 
by rents chargeable on the tenants, at 3 per cent, on the cost of 
the total site at the above rate. Building rent, or the bare 
interest on the total cost of the building, is put at 2^ per cent., 
because the City Registrar informs me that the Corporation can 
borrow all it needs at this rate. The cost of the respective 
buildings themselves represent the exact sums paid for them, 
and in the case of those mentioned in the tables belonging to 
private proprietors, a very liberal valuation has been put on 
them all. 

It will probably be of considerable interest to you all as 
future property valuators to know that, in developing the 
calculations, I find that in the old properties, containing one and 
two apartment dwellings, the available cubic space for living pur- 
poses comes out at between 52 and 53 per cent, of the total over- 
all cubic measurement. That is to say, for every 1,000 cubic feet 
of free air space a labourer gets to live in, 1,923 cubic feet are 
absorbed in building from the ground level to the ridge of the 
roof. 

With these explanations we can now examine the properties 
selected, and compare results. 

Let us take first Nos. 1, 2, and 3, belonging to the Corporation. 
No. 1 contains 48 houses of one apartment and 12 houses of two 
apartments, is a four-flatted block on the balcony system, and is 
built of bricks. Here the two-apartment tenant pays as rent per 
week for each 1,000 cubic feet. 14|d. (Please recollect that all 



19 

rents now to be spoken of do not include police rates, School Board 
rates, nor poor rates, but do include payment of water and stair 
gas light.) Each one-apartment tenanc pays as rent for similar 
space 14-1.01: pence per week, or nearly 14id. Splitting these 
weekly rents up, we find the one-apartment weekly rent per 1.000 
cubic feet charged with the following, viz. : — For ground rent, 
2 - 2175d. : for interest on building, T'lod. ; for management, 
owners' taxes, and insurance, 2 - 706d. ; and for actual repairs, 
1 -208d. — leaving a surplus over 2| per cent, on buildings of 
1 '12250. Similarly the figures for the two-apartments rents per 
1.000 cubic feet per week are, respectively, 2 - 27d.. 7 - 296d., 2'752d., 
and 1236d., leaving as surplus 1-186 pence per week. Now these 
conjoined weekly surpluses per 1,000 cubicfeet per «eek, multiplied 
by the total cubic space in the two classes of houses and by 52 
weeks, amount together to £29 12s. 9d., or nearly ^ per cent, on 
the building cost, and together with the bare 2| per cent, interest 
to nearly 3^ per cent., or exactly £3 3s. lOd. 

Therefore, at the very entry of our enquiry we have a block 
of buildings which almost meets what we are looking for, viz., a 
self-sustaining labourers' property rented within the labourers' 
means. It may fairly be said that a half per cent, is not enough 
to meet contingencies an,d depreciation, nor is it, even with a 
corporation financing, but, on the other hand, it must be taken 
into account that the cost of these buildings was £6,738 9s. 4d., 
or 6d. per cubic foot over-ail measurement. Here I join hands 
with the Committee of the London County Council in deprecating 
such high standards of construction and material. Government 
and municipal standards are in the main good and desirable, but 
infinitely more important and useful for the poor labourer are good 
accommodation and low rents ; and, in my opinion, where the 
former makes impossible the latter elasticity must be found in 
construction, as there is none in the poor man's ability to pay. 
Here is the point where the architectural craftsman comes in — 
where his special knowledge and skill may be employed with the 
greatest usefulness to his poorer fellow-citizen. The question of 
greatest urgency is, can a large block of labourers' dwellings 
of four or five flats be properly erected and completed for less than 
6d. per cubic foot, measuring over all? I think it can. Mr. 
Robert Scott, the well-known measurer, has certified that the four 
stone-built four-storey tenements belonging to the Corporation in 



20 

Osborne Street and King Street were erected and completed in all 
respects for 4|d. per cubic foot ; that four similar tenements 
fronting King Street and Parnie Street, with basements 7 feet 
high, were left finished for 4|d. per cubic foot ; and that six 
tenements of the same construction fronting Parnie Street and 
circling into Osborne Street cost to complete them the same, viz., 
4^d. If this be so, then you will be able to say whether brick- 
built labourers' dwellings should cost more or less. But I am 
now going to assume that a building identical with No. 1 belong- 
ing to the Corporation can be finished in every respect and left 
ready for occupancy for the same sum, viz., 4^d. per cubic foot, 
and ascertain, in that event, what the new surplus over 2| per 
cent, will be. At 4|d. the cost of this building would be- 
£5,053 17s. Id., in place of £6,738 9s. 4ci., which it actually cost: 
and the interest at 2f per cent., £138 19s. 7d., instead of 
£185 16s. 3d. This would allow of a surplus of £75 19s. 5d., or 
£46 6s. 8d. more than the actual surplus, or £1 6s. Id. per cent. 
for reserve, instead of 8s. lOd. per cent, now available. This one 
example, therefore, proves that with ground at 30s. per square 
yard, charged with 3 per cent, interest, and a four-storey block 
built thereon at the rate of 4|d. per cubic foot, the poorest 
labourer may have a sanitary and comfortable house on the 
balcony system for 14J pence per 1,000 cubic feet per week, and 
yield £4 Is. Id. per cent, of interest on the cost of the building. 
Should the labourer require that the size of his dwelling be 2,000 
cubic feet, he would have to pay 2s. 5^d. weekly for it, or fully 
9^ per cent, on the average wage of £1 6s. 5|d.. and 12 per cent. 
on the lower average wage of £1 0s. 6|d. Such a house would 
legally accommodate three adults and four children under 10 years. 

I look upon this No 1 property as the best in this city for the 
labouring man, and think it reflects on our Corporation the very 
highest credit. I have gone so minutely into the figures here that 
it will be. I imagine, unnecessary to cover the same extent of 
ground with each of the others. A study of the tables and 
diagrams at the end of the pamphlet will reveal in detail their com- 
parative position. I shall therefore deal with them more generally. 

No. 2 consists of a block of 36 single-apartment houses in the 
very centre of the city. The weekly rent for the 1,000 cubic 
feet here is more than in No 1, being 18-14 pence. The increase 
is, as you see on the diagram, due to two causes, viz., ground rent 



21 

and surplus over 2^ per cent, on building. The total interest 
yielded here is 44; per cent., but the rents are more than the 10 
per cent, of earnings desiderated, as each house contains 1.832 
cubic feet, and hence demands a weekly payment of 2s. 9Jd. 
Block No. 3 is a small property in the Calton district, containing 
15 houses of each. class, on the balcony system. Here the two- 
roomed tenant pays 18 - 520d. per 1,000 cubic feet per week, or 
3|-d. more than the tenant in No. 1 Block, and no countervailing 
advantage so far as I can see, while his one-apartment neighbour 
pays 2^d. less, or 16 - 339d. The tenants pay more than those in 
Block No. 1 on every item, excepting for interest on building, and 
the surpluses over 2^ per cent, are 3T27d. and 2 - 769d. per 1,000 
cubic feet per week respectively, thus leaving the total interest on 
building cost at £± Is. 5d. Here the single apartments, being 
small (1,379 cubic feet), the weekly rent is Is. 10-Jd., and hence 
well within the 10 per cent, limit of the labourer. The two 
apartments, being 3s. 1 Jd. per week, are outside of it. 

We now come to a consideration of Blocks 4, 5, and 6 of the 
Glasgow Workmen's Dwellings Company. 

The first, Block 4, is a remarkable building, and, as an experi- 
ment in the housing of the poorer classes, is of exceptional interest, 
and the company, under the management of Mr. Mann, deserve 
the thanks of the community for their enterprise. Here we have 
two blocks of five-storey buildings, with a fine concreted court 
between them 61 feet in width. The walls are of brick, built 
hollow, and rough cast with cement outside. The two blocks 
contain 8 single-roomed houses and 48 two-roomed houses. There 
are also one three-apartment house occupied free of rent by a 
resident caretaker, who is a joiner, working during his spare 
time on the property, and a suite of rooms or recreation halls, 
rented from the company by the Toynbee Association. There 
is a difficulty in dealing with these blocks in a comparative 
way because of these exceptional extras, but in the following 
figures I have eliminated from the calculations any rentals 
derivable from the caretaker's house and from the recreation 
halls, and have tried to ascertain whether the tenants of the 
56 dwelling-houses could pay for everything, and, if so, what 
extra surplus would be left over to be added to the £110 per 
annum the company receive for the halls from the Toynbee 
Association. Under this method we find that the 48 two-apartment 



22 

tenants, who pay 18-605 pence per 1,000 feet per week, and 
the 8 single-apartment tenants, who pay 17"068 pence, can clear 
off all charges, and leave, per 1,000 feet per week, *688 pence and 
•607 pence respectively. Multiplying these figures by the total 
cubic feet in each class, and by 52 weeks, leaves a surplus over 2|- 
per cent, of £14 8s. I find by measuring the above-mentioned 
recreation halls that, had they been built as extra one-apartment 
houses, the rental would have been exactly the £110 which the 
Toynbee Association are paying for them, so that it is quite fair 
that this £110 should be added to the £14 8s. to arrive at 
the true surplus profit. This then yields the company a surplus 
over the 2| per cent, of £124 8s., which is equal to an 
additional £1 17s. 4d. per cent., or £4 12s. 4d. per cent, as total 
interest on the cost of the buildings. 

But this, favourable as it is, fails to give a correct comparative 
figure, as we should take into account a special system of renting 
inaugurated by this company, viz., that of allowing all good, 
steady, permanent tenants a bi-annual deduction of two weeks' 
rent at Glasgow Fair and at the New Year holidays. This makes 
forty-eight weeks in each year in place of the usual fifty-two. I 
assumed that all the tenants received this bonus, which reduced 
my total surplus profit before-mentioned by £30 Is. 6d. Were 
this special deduction from the rents added, the total surplus 
would be £154 9s. 6d., instead of £124 8s., or £5 Is. 4d. per 
cent, of a total interest on cost of buildings, in place of £4 12s. 4d. 

I might mention in passing that the company were fortunate 
in obtaining the ground at about 20s. per square yard, and not at 
the rate taken for all these calculations, viz., 30s. The one 
apartments are just under the 10 per cent, limit of the single-room 
tenants' earnings, while the two apartments are 4^d. per week 
over the 10 per cent, limit for the average earnings of the two- 
apartment tenants in Glasgow, which at this ratio should not 
exceed 2s. 7|d. 

Assuming that all these 48 two-apartment houses were let at 
2s. 7fd. per week, instead of 3s. 2d., the total interest yielded on 
the cost of buildings would be £4 12s. per Gent., which is 
ample for any corporation which can borrow money at 2| per 
cent. We are, therefore, much indebted to this company for 
showing what can be done — and done even at 6d. per cubic foot, 
which is the rate, I understand from Mr. Mann, the buildings 
came out at for erection and completion. 



23 

From our study of these new properties I think I am now 
justified in saving that in Glasgow the Corporation can erect new 
dwellings on 30s. ground for the poorest and rent them on a 10 
per cent, average earnings' basis, not only without loss, but with 
a small profit, as by employing a jobbing caretaker and keeping 
the property in good repair, 1 per cent, is sufficient for a sinking 
fund. 

The full details with regard to the five remaining properties are 
before you in the tables and diagrams. They are all old properties, 
and show in every case very full profits to the owners, ranging 
from £7 3s. 7d. to £9 10s. 8d. per cent. The rents charged are 
above our 10 oer cent, limit of earnings, and I have no hesitation 
in saying that a great benefit to our labouring poor would and 
ought to result from a rearrangement of both occupancy and the 
rentals, so that, firstly, no well-paid artizan would be accepted as 
a tenant, and, secondly, that the closest approximation possible 
will be made to the limit herein laid down, viz., rent for one 
apartment 2s. per week, rent for two apartments 2s. 7|d. per 
week. I am glad at this point to have an opportunity of saying 
that the Workmen's Dwellings Company do not allow any 
tenants into their houses who earn over 25s. per week. This 
good example should be followed by all who own very small 
houses in labouring districts. 

Before showing you a few properties and plans on the screen, 
permit me to draw one object lesson from the diagrams illustrating 
the position in these five old properties. Looking at these columns 
and comparing them with those of the four new properties, we see 
at a glance that whereas the heaviest charge on the rentals of the 
latter is for interest on building, on the former it is for profit to 
the owners over 2| per cent. 

Now let us take the first of the five, viz., Block No. 5, and 
discover what reduction it would make on its total interest were 
the company to reduce all the rents to the 10 per cent, limit of 
earnings — that is, 2s. per week and 2s. 7fd. per week respectively, 
counting 52 weeks in the year. 

The annual difference of rental we find would be £51 Us. 8d., 
involving a reduction of £1 19s. 9d. per cent, of interest. But 
even after deducting this, the total interest on the cost of build- 
ing would still remain £6 4s. 8d., or almost 6^ per cent. 

And, similarly, a good per cent, would stili remain upon the 



24 

others were the rents reduced and the capacity of the labourer to 
pay taken more into account. Meantime it seems clear that, ex- 
cept in a few new buildings, this rent-paying capacity of the poor 
is not; so much considered as the question, what are the rents 
for similar houses in the neighbourhood 1 ? The law of supply and 
demand in old properties has free play, but this is not fair play to 
the poor, because neither builders nor property owners are build- 
ing houses of this small class, and consequently the demand is 
overtopping the supply. The result of this is only too evident in 
the very high rents charged. Just glance at the last two diagrams, 
by which we see the poor inhabitant of the ticketed single room 
paving over 2s. per week for his dreary 1,000 cubic feet, as 
against his brother in Block No. 1 at 14|d., Block No. 3 at 16id., 
and Block No. 4 at 17d., for houses infinitely superior as sanitary 
abodes. 

If a study of these diagrams and the corresponding tables will 
eventually lead to the building of sanitary dwellings for the poor 
by the Corporation, or by such associations as the Glasgow 
Workmen's Dwellings Company, my labour shall have met with 
a full reward, and not only will the labourers and other humble 
citizens rejoice in possessing healthier and happier homes, but the 
Health Committee will then be able to help, as they cannot now, 
by working at the opposite end, and closing houses in various 
quarters of the city which are to-day a menace both to public 
moi'ality and public health. 



25 



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27 




Fig. 1. 

This diagram shows a section through the Corporation property at 45 
St. James' Road. It exhibits how the balconj' shown at the left hand 
interferes with direct skylight. The point of vision is taken at 5 feet 
6 inches from the floor level in each case, and the respective angles of 
incidence at the window are clearly seen by comparing the one side of the 
diagram with the other. The angle on the left, or balcony side, is 47° 
from the zenith, and on the other side 8°. It will be observed that on the 
ground flat the eye at the window cannot discern any part of the sky, on 
account of the building situated 20 feet from it. The other side shows a 
40-feet street, with an assumed erection of four storeys. While balconies 
interfere seriously with the light, especially on ground floors, they yield 
other compensative advantages. 



as 






\ 







Fig. 2. 

This diagram shows the angles of incidence of light in the Cathedral 
Court buildings, belonging to the Glasgow Workmen's Dwellings Company. 
The width of the court between the two buildings here is 61 feet, yet it 
will be seen that on the ground flat the sky just becomes visible within a 
foot of the window pane. On the upper floors the balcony does not 
seriously interfere with direct skylight. The curve drawn through the 
right-hand section shows the point in each flat, at 5 feet 6 inches from the 
floor, where sight of the sky is lost. 



29 




Fig. 3. 



This photograph is taken from the back of the Corporation buildings in 
St. James ; Road, and shows the style of the balconies. These balconies 
might be improved by paving them opposite each window with rough plate 
glass. This would cost per window, 61s. 3d., instead of 8s. 2d. for 
concrete. The shadow cast by the balcony is clearly shown on the first 
floor. 



30 




Fiu. 4. 



This is a plan of the single-apartment houses in the Corporation property 
at St. James' Road, where each two tenants have a W.C. , while the wash- 
house is used by six tenants. 



31 




Fig. 5. 



This is a plan suggesting an improvement upon Fig. 4. Each apartment 
is a foot longer, so as to give two full-sized beds, and provide a small 
scullery separated from the apartment by a 6-foot partition fitted with a 
door. This arrangement permits of privacy, an essential element in the 
comfort of single-roomed houses ; and, in the case of death, where there 
are no recognised public mortuaries, would be a great boon to poor people. 
The situation of the W.C. is also better, as it would not necessitate the 
user coming out on to the common balcony. 



32 




Fig. 6. 



This shows a section of the Corporation property at St. James' Road, 
taken through the staircase. 



rABLE comparing cost of ground and buildings, with the gross rentals, of Nine different blocks of Workmen's Dwellings in the City of Glasgow, showing the net surplus after deducting outlays for repairs, management, ^'< 
All the various ground areas valued alike at 30s, per square yard, capitalised at 3 per cent., and the building cost borrowed at 2| per cent, per annum, 






: i 



■liiniii- 



■ belonging to Citi/ Impi 
\r v 4:> St. Jami B ad 



da at 30s. 
= £1,920 at 

i tnent, £57 12 



At No. 1 30 Saltmarket Street (Brick, Back Land), 



At No. 74 Kirk Street, Calton, 



ging to Th 

II ii I "' ... .. i I, .use), 



1, 104 square yard 

= £1.7': 

Annual payment. £52 7 I 



770 sqtt;. 

= £1,1 i I 



I 



6th. Ardgowan Place (Bolton Strei 



Three h irate Owner* 

At 60-64 Kottenrow Street, ... 



8th. At No. 154 Cro 

■ ■led.) 



Annual payment, i 



■ ire yards at 30s. 
= £2,115 at 3 V, 
Annua] payment £63 '9 



... 
Annual payment, £6] 1-0 



Cost £6,738 9 I. 
Annual inten 185 • 6 



Cost £3 . < 
Annual interest, £91 -9-9 



Annual Interest, - ; 



Cost £6,656, 
Annual interest, £183 -0-10 



Cost £ 
Annual interest. £71 7 In 



Cost I 
Annual interest, £129 'J ■ > 



Annual pa 



mis at 30s. 
£646 
-■ tnent, £19 • 7 * 6 



. James' Road (Central District), 
(Tick) 



Say 316 square varus at 30s. 
Annual payment. £14 • 5 • 



Say for i 

Annn ; 10 0* 



30, . 
Annual interest, £311 6 



at . . 
Annual inti ■• £24 ' 15 -0 



Cost of i 



. . £16 i 


£117-7 


Total, £7(1 7 1 


£33-11-4 £7 3 5 





Total, £4114-9 



£1 1 8 n £1 12-8 



Total, £36-8-11 



Average of i 

£59 1 -2J £C1 ■ 15-7 £5 • 1-' -6 



Total. £126-9 -3J 



£46 -5 3 £58 IS 7 £3 



Total, £108 5 -3 



£70 IS -3 £90-1 -5| £4-6-9 
Total, £165 6 



£12-14-0 £5-0-0 £100 
Total, £18 14 



£15 12-2 £7 5 '■ £1 ii 



Total, £ 



£13 -6 £5-0-0 £1-0-0 



Total. £19 ' ii 



Tot il outlaj 



£31 8 -6 £344 13 10 



£15 1 T ' 



£384-10-4$ 



£17 -9 6 £78- 1 il 



£10 16 ■ : ' 



An avera-_ £65 3 G 

£6-17-6 



Sui plug for .. linking fund 

ami total Sui], his 






£29 12 9, 
Mi' per cent., 

01 £3 3 10 0V6I all 



£48 ■ 17 3, 
=£19 i 

or £4 1 1 overall. 



133-0- 10, 
= £1 -6 5 

or £4 ■ 1 -5 */. over all. 



(a) 



£14 7 

i H 

£ l--'4-"7 T 6 

= £1 ■ 17 • 4 °/„ additional 
or £4- 12 t '/. over all. 



£391 ■ 1 



£111 15-4 (.■>, 
£5-9-1 

overall. 



£215 8-7J i.-i. 
= £4-11-6 . additional 
or £7 - 6 • 6 '/„ over all. 



£4 1 6 ■ 6, 

7 . over all. 



£6 ' 4 •/, additional 
or £9 ■ • 4 7, over all. 



£61-1 -6, 
= £6 -16-8 7, additional 
or £9 ■ 10-8 7, over all. 



34 

including -.' 



3 apts. 






1,844-750 









"mi oub. it. 
in lioustia of 



Pence. 

14 tut 



2,031-866 16-399 






1,129 



1,826 125 i l 18-606 



1,934 



2,234-411 



and 2,811 



1,129 24-580 



21-642 
and 11-863 fo 



la) These rental! all mcl. Eor 

... . . .... apartment houses and does not include £110 pel \ i 

. 1 In ' plus i ing for the t .... ...... 



I \IM.I-. showing the air space io cu total rental per annum in pence, and tl such rental paid fin- (1) ground renl taken al 3 per cent, on 30s. per square yard; (2) internt on buildings al 2j per cent.; (3) cost of 

management, owners' taxes, and insurance; (4 percent.; also, the rent in pence per week per 1,000 cubic feet of air -pace in houses, paid by theftenants of the one and two apartment hi 

respectively, ami the pro] rtions of -aid rent paid on account of (I) ground rent taken at 3 pei cent, on 30s. per square yard; (2) interest on buildings, at 2| per cent.; (3) cost of management, owners' taxes, ana insurance; (4) actual 
repairs; and [5) surplu over 2| per cent. 





III .,11 


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3 

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pi i 1 

1 
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1 rro 1 

rent rent 

■ pi ! 1,(1' O 

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Peace. 




Peace. Pence 


P 






Pei 


Peace. 
















B id, 


119,227 






88,548 














16,885 


7,542 








~ 


■2 -j ; 




7-296 


7-15 




2-752 


2706 






1 208 


- 








130 Sal" 


i,947 




- 
















10,017 


5,937 






1814 


- 




; 565 






i, m 




" 






- 




- 




3121 


I 4 4 


71 Kirk Street, 




" 


30,47- 




40,992 




29,352 




8,316 


16,504 


8,747 








16-399 


- 


3-277 






6504 






3-447 


3-052 




2 165 


1-917 


- 


3 li' 7 


2-769 


1 1 5 


i Court, 


97,854 


- 


87,654 


10,200 






84,804 


9,053 


12,506 




30,351 


3,6 10 






17068 


- 


2-17'J 


2-274 


8-704 


8009 




6017 


:,.-.2n 




0-717 


0-658 




0-688 


0-G07 


if 1 12 1 


Court 






65,751 


33.572 


101,404 




61,096 






17,134 




9,036 




17-871 


23089 


- - 


2-683 


3-467 - 


3-02 






t-579 






1-592 






5-997 






A.rdgowati P 








68,816 










14,652 






6,882 


- 


16-941 




1 725 






:; 656 


4-648 




4-663 








1030 


- 


6087 




(c)7 6 li 




34,353 


18,030 




1,096 








1,116 


3,456 




1,488 




I I B63 


21-642 


1 -396 


2-546 




2-665 


i 861 


4-405 


1-812 


3-306 


3 000 


1-671 


3-114 


2-796 


1-316 


7-816 


7 076 


7 3 7 


154 Crookston Street, ... 


35,736 


- 




12,505 


37,4 10 




21,600 






7,458 




2,600 




17-880 


3 








3-561 


t-852 




2-737 


3-730 




1-238 




- 




11060 


it n 1 


';.,:«1, 


23,705 


- 


- 




30,300 








3,420 


5,940 




1,650 






- 




2-775 




- 


1-819 


- 




3758 






1-339 


- 




1 1 889 





(6) 1 



■ 

■ ! ' '* 

: ■ Poor Kates ha 

Eor the return of a bonus to each tenant & foui per a -num. 



does not include 



THE HOUSING OF THE POOR. 



" The Housing of the Poor " I selected as the subject of 
my first Corporation Lecture, because it lies nearest my 
heart of all the problems of sanitation, and I know it also 
was a subject in which Councillor Erskine, who invited me to 
lecture, had the deepest interest. It is due to its selection 
that I have the great honour to see in the chair our civic 
chief, than whom no man has done more earnest work (to use 
his own words) " to fully develop the moral and social 
advantage of every section of the community." It is the 
grandest, and yet the saddest, problem upon which the brain 
and the heart of any man could labour. The problem is not 
to be solved by recourse to any one particular agency or 
energy. The present houses of the poor are the product of 
many evil forces, both positive and negative — forces which 
have grown and gained force through generations, and which 
it will take generations to uproot and destroy. 

The moral degradation of slum-land must, to a large 
extent, be met by spiritual influences working through the 
personal contact of kindly and sympathetic citizens — 
ministers of the gospel and missionary workers. This 
influence is what " General " Booth calls " aiming at the 
heart." The physical side of the problem is that which 
immediately concerns the municipality; or how are light, 
fresh air, good drainage, abundant water, sanitary con- 
veniences, houses sound in the walls, roofs, and floors, to be 
found for every man, woman, and child in our great city, 
and, when found, how are these things to be maintained 
inviolate and intact ? 

It is with a terribly serious and responsible feeling that 
one goes officially from door to door among the poor of a city 



4 

like this. Your head and your heart seem to come into 
violent collision. We are told by Bailey, the poet, that " We 
should count time by heart-throbs." According to this 
chronology I admit to being an old man. The sights I have 
seen during the past fifteen years, the words I have heard, 
and the things I have handled, make the heart sore. It is 
down in the lanes and back lands of a large city one comes 
into immediate personal contact with " the fretful stir 
unprofitable, and the fever of the world," and the intellectual 
part of a man seeks, like Mrs. Greville, to utter a " prayer for 
indifference." The heart rises in rebellion as scene after 
scene of poverty and wretchedness follow upon the opening 
of door after door ; it seeks, with indignation and sorrow, for 
some immediate salvation — for the sudden intervention of 
some deliverer, almighty to save ; but the head points out 
how impracticable it is to dream of any rapid solution of the 
awful problem. The heart is torn by the realisation of the 
sad effects of ignorance, vice, and poverty, and the brain 
calmly seeks for the causes which produce them, and, in the 
cool light of reason, reflects upon the remedies to be taken. 
The heart impels you to become a modern Peter the Hermit, 
and call with a loud voice for a great general rising of 
Christian Crusaders to sweep from the city every condition 
which debases and destroys, no matter what interest may 
suffer during the battle. The head says, " No ! we must 
work at our statistics, deliver lectures, write sanitary reports, 
think out schemes of gradual amelioration, issue notices and 
summonses, and condemn only those insanitary dwellings 
which are of such an aggravated character as to be quite 
intolerable." The head recognises the hard, unbending facts 
which surround the financial aspect, while the heart deplores 
the necessity for giving heed to the pounds, shillings, and 
pence of the subject. 

It does not take long for any one moving out and in 
among the poor to note that gross ignorance on their part 
plays an all-important part in the causation of disease and 
death among them. This lies on the very surface, patent to 



the most inexperienced district visitor. It takes a more ex- 
perienced mind to apprehend why poverty becomes, in so many 
instances, the instrument of destruction to health and life. 

I desire to-night to deal with both ot those aspects, and 
will seek to ascertain, first, how best ignorance on the part of 
the poor is to be combated ? and, second, why poverty causes 
destruction ? and how the present conditions caused by 
poverty may in time be abolished ? 

As a rule, the people we are thinking of to-night walk in 
complete deafness as well as in gross darkness. Even the 
glowing periods of great statesmen, whose eyes, from their 
high elevation, are now penetrating the gloom of slum-land, 
do not reach their ears. They are, for the most part, all 
unconscious of the powerful voices resounding throughout the 
land on the grand necessity for changing the character of 
their abodes, not only in their own interests, but in the 
wider interests of the British Empire. 

The voice of the personal visitor is what they do appreciate. 
Their knowledge must be got at first-hand, their thoughts 
must be instilled by the living contact of flesh and blood. I 
am deeply convinced, after years of thought and experience, 
that no power that can be brought to bear on the health of 
the common people is to be compared with the power of the 
loving, personal interest of a man or woman who knows their 
weaknesses and their legitimate wants. 

The main essentials of healthy living, viz., a fresh and 
free atmosphere around and within the dwelling, unstinted 
measure of light streaming in at the windows, abundance of 
pure water conveniently at hand, and sanitary conveniences 
so' situated and kept as to create no offensiveness — are, we 
often find, least in the minds of the lower-class tenants. 

The environment in which they have been born and bred 
has blinded the majority to the manifest necessity of 
attempting to secure these essentials. Like the fish in the 
mammoth-cave pools, they have no sight, they have dwelt so 
long in insanitary darkness. Filth in some form or other 
has been in constant evidence so long; semi-darkness has 



6 

surrounded them for such a number of years ; and stagnant, 
foetid air has been the breath of their lives for such a 
lengthened period, that the women-folk of the poor seem to 
accept the terrible conditions of their lives as a matter of 
course. The labouring man's wife does not complain much 
of the want of these things when you visit her. She and her 
neighbours, and their families, steeped in ignorance of 
hygienic principles, constantly remind you of those whom 
Cowper wrote in his " Bill of Mortality," " Who, much 
diseased, yet nothing feel ; much menaced, nothing dread." 

What menaces her convenience and comfort is what your 
Sanitary Inspectors hear most about. Stinks from the sink, 
plasterless walls, rotten floors, broken ceilings, and the 
nightly rambles of the rats ; these, and such like, form the 
burden of her complaint — these appeal to every woman, even 
the most degraded. She tells you in indignant tones of the 
unfulfilled promises of the factor's rent-collector to see at once 
to the necessary repairs. She does not tell you that she uses 
her sink as a water-closet, or that her floors on many occasions 
have been saturated with dirty water and used to break fire- 
wood upon, or that the huge break in her plastered wall is the 
result of a domestic brawl. The causes have to be guessed at 
by the wary and experienced inspector, and she and the owner 
dealt with accordingly. A glance at her and at her house is 
often sufficient to fix her type — struggling, careful, clean, 
or lazy, careless, dirty. If the former, matters can be 
mended and our work made easy ; if the latter, our mission- 
ary work lies before us, in the prosecution of which every art 
of persuasion, cajolery, and veiled threat of compulsion are 
needful to be employed with the nicest discretion. Attack 
the careless, slatternly woman by threat of instant proceed- 
ings, and she at once breaks from sullenness into vituperation 
— wants to know why you permit her broken walls and flooring 
to remain ; why her ceiling is cracked and bagging ; why her 
window is broken and unhung ; and what you intend to do 
to remove the insects which crawl from myriad hiding-places 
to their nightly orgies upon her and her wretched children. 



This is the kind of case — alas ! too common — the inspector 
finds it difficult to deal with. The house is bad, but so is the 
tenant. Such a tenant would make any house intolerable to 
live in within a few months. We may, of course, notify the 
owner at once to remove the vermin, to repair the plaster, 
and to refloor the house and rehang the windows; but 
hitherto we have been unable to find any practical means of 
dealing with the dirty, degraded tenant, short of expulsion 
from civilised life. 

Here two plans have been tried to combat the joint effects 
of poverty, laziness, and sluttishness — the Deino, Pephredo, 
and Enyo of our modern city life. It was recognised early 
by the Health Committee that among the teeming masses of 
slum-land the voice of soft persuasion went deeper and 
wrought surer than the thunder of intimidation — that love 
was stronger than the law. Six female inspectors were 
appointed and sent down into the sadness, and wretchedness, 
and offensiveness of the 30,000 whose dwellings were 
branded for night inspection for fear of the typhus plague — 
the Nemesis of filth. These municipal angels daily visit the 
crowded tenements of our struggling population. Book in 
hand, they note the condition of the houses of the poor, 
listen to the complaints and tales of sorrow with patience, 
and advise in cases of difficulty or distress. 

The first thing they did was to gain the confidence of the 
poor by words of sympathy and small acts of assistance, which 
need not be described. The main object was, of course, to 
secure the cleanliness of every humble home ; to leave no 
permanent nidus within the four walls for the growth and 
development of those minute vegetable substances called 
microbes, which, like other better-known vegetables, thrive 
best in moisture and rottenness. 

Thousands of houses, in the early days of inspection, were 
seen to be little else than forcing-beds for germs of all kinds, 
and those tenements, once infected by the specific germ of 
typhus, smallpox, or other dangerous disease, became not 
only fever fires within themselves, but, like the flaming fire 



in the crowded area, were a constant source of danger to the 
whole neighbourhood, if not, indeed, to the whole city. 

As time proceeded, poverty was seen in numerous cases to 
be the cause of black walls and soot-laden dirty ceilings, and 
these, in turn, begot the apathy, the heartlessness, of the 
lowly housewife. The inspectors were then authorised to 
pass ' : orders " to poor persons which secured to them gratis 
as much whiting and colouring powder as were needful, and 
the loan of a brush wherewith to cover up the dinginess of 
the apartment. No reasonable excuse was thus left for a 
continuance of dirt, and, by the exercise of this power of 
assistance, the ladies are able to influence the better nature 
of thousands, and secure an obedience and ready co-operation 
on their part which no threats of punishment seemed able to 
command. It is not so easy now as formerly to find in 
Glasgow a really filthy house — a house that can be certified 
as being a menace to the public health. 

At this point might I throw out a practical suggestion, 
viz., that we might strive to get that word " filthy " in this 
connection abolished from our Acts of Parliament. It has 
the great disadvantage of being too strong a term. Under 
its protecting cegis, a great number of houses might, in 
certain circumstances,- escape the corrective influence of the 
Corporation which should not escape, and their tenants 
continue under the protection of law to dwell more or less in 
uncleanness for long periods, living in that extensive border- 
land which lies between clean and filthy. All houses which 
are dirty, and therefore unclean, should be cleaned, or the 
municipality and its officers should know the reason why. 

A conciliatory policy has now been established — friendly 
in its practical application and educative in its aim. In 
respect of the filthy house internally, poverty in Glasgow 
occasions less " alarm " than it did in the past. The kindly 
visit of our ladies has so far abolished Deino, and their 
lessons and advice to the poor have greatly relieved the city 
of her sister Gorgons — " dread " and " horror." 

No influence on public health and the death-rate is so 



9 

malevolent as dirt in the home, on the entrances to the 
home, and in the immediate surroundings of the home. 
Once raise the public conscience to this greatest of all 
sanitary truths, and a brighter future lies in store for every 
crowded city. Force here seems to be no remedy. Neither 
Parliament, nor municipality, nor individual judge loves the 
application of force within the four walls of even the poorest 
citizen. Only when persuasion, advice, educative influences, 
and promise of help have failed — only when ignorance has no 
reason for remaining obdurate — should our police courts be 
requested to condemn and punish those who, through 
poverty, weakness, disease, or even ingrained laziness or 
stupidity, have continued to dwell in dirt and defilement. 
It is easy to condemn the poor and issue a summons ; but it 
is more noble to get them a water supply, and to educate 
them, and cause the issue of two pounds of whiting and a 
whitening brush where want of such is one of the causes of 
complaint. But the persuasive, educative method absorbs 
much time and patience. House-to-house visitation and 
revisitation simply swallow time, and men or women are 
needed for this work in every city much in excess of the 
present numbers for any real effect to be noticeable on the 
public health.' 

Were it practicable for every small house in the crowded 
localities of this City of Glasgow to be visited regularly once 
a week by a trained, tactful, and intelligent inspector, male 
or female, what a change could be effected in the homes and 
in the immediate environment of the people ! What a 
reduction could eventually be made in the disease and death- 
rates ! As matters stand a visit once in two or three months 
is all that can be accomplished, so large are the fields and 
so few are the labourers. " Like angels' visits, few and far 
between," are the calls of the inspectors in the houses where 
their presence is most required. 

Quite recently I have suggested the permanent employ- 
ment on the sanitary staff of half-a-dozen inspectors as a 
" flying squadron," whose duty it would be to invade, in turn, 



10 

all our most insanitary areas ; take street after street, land 
after land, house after house from bottom to top, and compel 
owner and tenant alike to abolish, within the area of inspec- 
tion, everything in the form of dirt and nuisance. There are 
certain districts which may be clean to-day and dirty to- 
morrow; and although the absolutely filthy house is now. 
difficult to find, although the standard of cleanliness has been 
raised all round during the past twenty years, still we have a 
great deal of that general carelessness and untidiness, that 
want of free ventilation, which makes the visitor to the poor 
often exclaim, with Coleridge, "I have counted two-and- 
twenty stenches, all well defined, and several stinks." 

I have hopes that before long we may see such a valuable 
permanent addition to our department. 

When we consider who are the principal sufferers from 
this state of matters ; when we think of the dreadful infantile 
mortality which blackens the statistical pages of every 
important municipality; when we know that in the poorer 
quarters of a city a fifth of those born never see another 
birthday, our feelings of pity become stirred to their depths, 
and we ask ourselves, Can nothing be done more than is done 
to save the helpless ? It is here that ignorance commits the 
greatest havoc. Milk, the most susceptible of fluids, in the 
heavy, foetid atmosphere of the dirty, unventilated house, 
becomes " turned " in a few hours; and what is under cool and 
clean conditions the sustaining power of infants, becomes to 
them, if kept amid filth, a veritable poison. 

Again, most of our poor burn oil lamps in the squalid 
rooms, because it is cheaper than gas ; but they do not know 
that by doing so they are largely increasing the amount of 
organic matter in the air they breathe, beyond what would 
occur were gas the illuminant. 

I have spoken of the want of free ventilation in these 
houses, and it needs to be spoken about again and again. 
The destructive power of used-Up, vitiated air is incalculable. 
It decimated our soldiers until the Barrack Improvement 
Commission issued their famous report in 1861, which 



11 

resulted in each man getting 600 cubic feet of space, and a 
minimum height of ceiling of 10 feet. Since that time the 
great mortality among our troops has steadily diminished ; 
and the great mortality among our poorer civil populations 
from disease of the respiratory organs will not — nay, cannot — 
be sensibly reduced until some drastic measures are taken to 
secure for them a greater measure of fresh air and ventilation 
than they have at present. Unfortunately, we dare not take 
drastic measures. We cannot give our labouring man 
sufficient air-space. He cannot afford it and live, if he be a 
married man with a family. But we ought to be able to 
compel him to let in air to his dwelling, which, in thousands 
of cases, he declines to do. His windows are completely 
under his own control, and too often both sashes are kept 
carefully closed. The result is, the atmosphere is close and 
oppressive, and in certain cases is so laden with organic 
matter that even the open lobbies leading to the houses are 
sensibly affected. When spoken to, he or his better half 
invariably state they have " ower much cauld air in the hoose 
already," and it would be quite useless to endeavour to 
convince them that to be " cosy and clarty " (to be warm and 
stuffy) is of the deadliest import to them and their children 
Constant and free ventilation from the window should be 
enforced in the public interest ; but the problem of enforce- 
ment is a difficult one, and the present legal standard of cubic 
air-space to a great extent renders it, in numerous cases, 
insoluble. 

This leads me naturally into the second part of the subject, 
viz., Why poverty is to such a great extent the instrument 
of destruction to health and life. Several reasons at once 
occur to us. There is insufficient and improper food, a too 
great indulgence in strong drink, a want in numerous 
instances of warm clothing, a scarcity in winter of fuel — all of 
which deeply affect the vital forces of those in very humble 
circumstances. But, above and beyond all these terrible 
drawbacks to the rearing of a strong and healthy labouring 
population, there stands out prominently this factor — for the 



12 

existence of which the governing authorities are mainly 
responsible — that, structurally, the cheap houses in which 
thousands of our poor are forced to dwell, and their surround- 
ings, are not in a truly sanitary condition. 

The questions may be asked by some ingenious person — 
How should this be ? What does the existence of Local 
Authorities, Medical Officers, and Sanitary Inspectors mean, 
if not to prevent any house, however humble, being a curse 
to its occupant, entailing upon him and his family, as time 
proceeds — 

"The young disease, that must subdue at length, 

Grows with their growth, and strengthens with their strength ?" 

The questions are cogent, the answers not easy. One thing 
is certain, and that is, that the living past is burying the 
present dead. The sins of the fathers are being visited upon 
the children unto the third and fourth generations. The 
growth of villages into towns, and towns into cities, has 
proceeded until quite recent times upon lines of expediency 
and ignorant selfishness. The science of sanitation had no 
place in the feuing and building of a hundred years ago. 
Untold misery is now the result. Those responsible for the 
narrow streets, lanes, and courts formed by our present 
rookeries — those who planted a rookery on the natural breath- 
ing space belonging to the tenement in front of it — are long 
since dead. In many cases their heirs have sold the "abomina- 
tions " to ignorant unfortunates, tempted by the heavy rent 
roll, or have managed to secure full bonds over the subjects 
from persons unskilled in property, and less skilled in reading 
the signs of the times. So involved, so inextricable have the 
financial relations become in connection with the possession 
of slum property, and so clear is it that many of the present 
owners have no possible family connection with the original 
holders of it, but are often women, and even children, eking 
out a subsistence upon the rental, that Government, Sheriffs, 
and Local Authorities deal tenderly with the whole subject of 
its demolition, and even the closure of a large part of it from 
human habitation. Medical Officers and Sanitary Inspectors 



13 

may pounce here and there upon a house under the Public 
Health Act or a Local Act, and have it closed up ; but they 
feel, in a city at any rate, that such action is like unto the 
nibbling of a mouse at the strands of the gigantic cable net 
which has entrapped the lion. Such action severs a strand 
here and there ; but a lifetime of such actions does little to 
set free the British Lion from the thraldom which the net- 
work of insanitary property has cast around him in every 
important town in the British Isles. 

Now, what is the main cause of this state of matters ? 
It has been called, " No room to live ! " I call it, " No 
sanitary rooms to live in." Go down with me into some of 
the noisome slums which shortly I will show on the screen. 
Enter these dark hovels, whose tenants grovel in eternal 
twilight, varied in the winter season by the flame of the 
paraffin lamp. As you draw your hand along the damp wall, 
and feel the blistered and rotten plaster crackle and fall in 
pieces to the floor, you stand up ready to pass sentence of 
condemnation. You look at the tenant, and probably some 
of her progeny are squatted at your feet. A few questions 
reveal the deep pathos of the situation. " Oh ! sir, I hope 
you're no gaun tae pit us oot, the hoose is no sae bad ; my 
man's been oot o' work, and we're behin' wi' the rent; 
hooses are awfu' scarce, and we canna afford a better ane." 
The certifying officers appear to such an one as destroying 
angels. She knows nothing of the great necessity for sum- 
mary condemnation in the public interest, she only knows her 
poverty and despair — she only knows there are no selection 
of houses for her and hers. It matters little what are the 
proximate causes which keep her in this place at 6s. or 7s. a 
month. It may be misfortune or loss of work, it may be 
prolonged illness, it may be drink ; the great fact for her is, 
that there are no sanitary houses at that rent within 
half-a-mile of her. Nothing is more painful in the line of 
sanitary duty than putting one's signature to a certificate of 
eviction in such cases. It may not be any concern of ours 
where such wretchedness is to find a dwelling ; we may still 



14 

our hearts by the apparent reasonableness of Cain's query, 
" Am I my brother's keeper ? " and try to persuade ourselves 
that, after all, it will be a blessing to those poor children we 
see if they are removed from such evil surroundings, no 
matter whither ; but the task is hard, and yearly becoming 
harder, in the absence of suitable abodes. 

Private persons will not build to house poor people. Poor- 
houses do not meet the cases that are not quite destitute, 
though poor, and so such folk are worse off than the almost 
destitute in all respects but the possession of liberty. It 
must be stated that freedom of will to do as they like keeps 
thousands of our " submerged tenth " in the hovels they 
inhabit. This is an undoubted and proven fact of civic 
experience, and the realisation of it "puzzles the will" of even 
the most progressive of our reformers in industrial housing. 
That " eternal spirit of the chainless mind " instils within the 
bosom of savage and civilised alike the feeling to which Pope 
gave expression — 

• ' Give me again my hollow tree, 
A cru3t of bread and liberty." 

Again and again I have experienced the truth that this spirit 

dwells within many of the rotten dwellings of Glasgow. 

Many of their inhabitants do not want anything that savours 

of regulation in their habitations or in their conduct. If the 

great majority of our slum dwellers showed a tendency to 

become amenable to certain more or less elastic rules as to 

occupancy, cleanliness, regularity, and general behaviour, half 

the difficulty of their housing would disappear. But they do 

not want to feel restraint of any kind ; no prying caretaker, 

no inquisitive janitor, must be near to note the brawling 

house, or the midnight wanderer staggering to his door. So 

you can easily perceive that any very extensive scheme of 

building for these folks, carried out, say, in the outskirts of 

the city, even with free tramways to their doors, might end 

in financial disaster. Still, after most careful enquiry, I am 

with " General " Booth in his opinion that about 50 per cent. 

of them are respectable ; and what I mean by " respectable " 



15 

is, that, with many egregious faults and weaknesses, at least 
half of our poorer classes wish to be in a position to live 
clean, wholesome, sanitary lives. How is this to be accom- 
plished in a city such as ours, where unsavoury conditions in 
many directions abound ? — a terrible legacy of the private 
selfishness which was allowed scope and development 40 or 
50 years ago. 

Much has been done during the past 20 years to ameliorate 
the state of our humbler classes. No one knows more of this 
grand work, nor has done more for the poor, than our 
Chairman. In one direction alone — that of providing proper 
sanitary conveniences — not less, I am sure, than £120,000 
has been spent by proprietors in that time ; and the supply 
of sinks and water in thousands of houses which formerly 
had none has also been proceeding quietly, much to the joy 
and comfort of those recipients who in previous years had 
to share with four or five others the abomination known as 
a "jawbox" on the stair landing, and a common privy in the 
court. Of course, rents have gone up accordingly, but I 
have invariably found that the extra sixpence or a shilling 
a month is not grudged for the great boon of a private sink, 
and the use of a convenient water-closet under lock and key. 
None but those who have spent days in the slums can 
adequately realise the difference it makes when an ashpit can 
no longer with truth be called a midden. To be in one 
of these midden-courts when the satellite of cleansing is 
busy at his operations can only compare with the experience 
of poor Falstaff in Mrs. Ford's buck-basket, " That there is 
the rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended 
nostril." The midden, even in its undisturbed state, if the 
weather be mild, " smells to heaven " every hour of the day, 
and no housewife with any remnant of an olfactory nerve will 
open her window if it be 15 feet from it. Many courts in 
our city, I regret to say, are still disgustingly odorous and 
unhealthful. Where poverty dwells, human progress is slow. 
It seems to be one of our social necessities that, in the 
struggle for a sanitary existence, the poor must attain to 



16 

what is needful only through official action overthrowing the 
selfishness of individualism. Our present curse in this city is 
that, as a rule, the private owner of slum property won't 
move except under the first lash of the law. He wants an 
official notice. He does not seem to see that the voluntary 
spending of money upon such sanitary improvements as I 
have indicated would do much to save his property for years 
against a more drastic law which, in its present condition, is 
hourly hanging over it. I have no hesitation in addressing 
such, as Conrade addressed Dogberry, the City Officer of 
Messina — " Away ! you are an ass ! " 

A slum without modern sanitary conveniences is a very 
different thing from a slum or closely packed area with 
water-closets, sinks, and water supply in each hoilse, and 
well-paved courts. For the former, early condemnation is 
sure; for the latter, expectation of life is increased by 
tenfold. 

As to the Corporation building labourers' dwellings in 
various parts of the city I have already, in a lecture last year, 
given my opinion. I then went as carefully as I could into 
the facts and finances surrounding the erection and control of 
large blocks of this class of property held in the City of 
Glasgow both by the Corporation and by private owners. 
From these figures it can be easily proved that a modern and 
comfortable house, containing 1,600 feet of free space, in a 
block or tenement, and the use of sufficient land for a court 
or back green, with washing-house, water-closet, &c, can be 
rented to a labourer without loss for Is. ll|d. per week. 

It is rather a strange coincidence that this sum, or £5 per 
annum, is exactly the rent which is being paid on the average 
at the present time by the tenants of single apartments in 
the back lands of our city, but in their case this payment is 
for 1,250 cubic feet, instead of for 1,600. 

We hear much in these days as to the solution of the 
problem — " How can the labourer, working-man, poor person, 
or any individual earning from 18s. to 25s. per week, obtain 
the tenancy of a sanitary house at a rent within his means, 



17 

or about ten per cent, of his weekly wage, without loss to 
the proprietor ? " 

The problem has been put differently by different persons. 
For instance, here how it is put by the Right Hon. A. B. 
Forwood, M.P., of Liverpool. He says — " The problem to be 
solved is, how best can we accommodate the industrial classes 
at a rental of one shilling per week per room?" After 
putting it thus, he proceeds — " This shilling rental is the 
all-important factor, for no man with a family ought to 
occupy less than three rooms, and 3s. is as much as the 
average Liverpool workman can afford to pay. 3s. per week 
returns £5 per house per annum to the owner, and no private 
person will build cottages costing £150 upon such a return."* 

The problem set in this way seems to me, however, to be 
too vague as to accommodation, and to imply rather much as 
to the necessities of the case. What is a room ? must always 
be a question, and it is also a question whether the labourer 
needs a cottage with three rooms. If the labourer requires a 
cottage of three rooms, then his proper housing is, from an 
economic point of view, impossible, unless he is obtaining 
financial aid from some members of his household. I make 
bold to assert it cannot be done, even were he to get his 
ground for nothing. What, on the average, does the labourer 
require to dwell in ? From a very recent enquiry into his 
actual necessities in Glasgow (which enquiry comprised 5,500 
houses), I find that here each family occupying a one-apart- 
ment house number 3^ on the average, and in the two-apart- 
ment houses there are 4| ; so that in the first case, at our 
present standard of occupancy, or 400 cubic feet for adults, 
and 200 for children under ten, the occupiers of our present 
one-apartment houses require 1,400 cubic feet of air-space. 
At the same ratio the tenant of the two-apartment house 
occupies, I find, 1,800 cubic feet ; so in presenting the follow- 
ing facts before you, I have taken the mean between these 
two, or a house of 1,600 cubic feet. This allows for the father 

* Paper on " The Housing of the Working Classes," by H. Percy Boulnois. 
Journal of the Sanitary Institute, Vol. XV., Part IV., page 620. 



18 

and mother, and four children under 10 years. Let us care- 
fully enquire how such a family can be housed at the rent I 
have named, viz., Is. ll|d. per week, which may be taken 
to represent one-tenth of the worker's weekly wage. 

In offering you some brief calculations on the subject, I 
shall not depart from actual experience, but will base all I am 
going to say on figures taken from four well-known properties 
in the city. These are — (1) the Corporation property at 
45 St. James' Eoad; (2) their property at 130 Saltmarket 
(back land) ; (3) their property at 74 Kirk Street, Calton ; 
and (4) the property of the Glasgow Workmen's Dwellings 
Company, Limited, at Cathedral Court, in Rottenrow. 

On consulting the lecture I delivered last year on the Hous- 
ing of the Labouring Classes, I find that the tenants of these 
four blocks of houses pay exactly lis. lOd. each per annum 
per 1,000 cubic feet occupied, as ground rent, estimating the 
cost of the ground to have been 30s. per square yard, and the 
interest required on the price of the ground 3 per cent. 

Similarly, the payment by the tenants yearly for interest, 
at 4| per cent., on the cost of these four blocks, I find to be 
£1 10s. lOd. per 1,000 cubic feet occupied. 

Now let us capitalise these two sums, viz., the ground rent, 
lis. 10d., at 3 per cent., and the building rent, £1 10s. 10d., 
at 4| per cent. I assume here, you will notice, that it would 
not be reasonable to charge the tenants with more than 3 per 
cent, on the price of the ground, as ground does not, as a 
substance, depreciate, and so does not require to be redeemed, 
therefore no sinking fund nor reserve fund is necessary to be 
provided. On the other hand, 4| per cent, is charged against 
the cost of the buildings, made up by 3 per cent, to the 
capitalist and 1| per cent, for sinking fund and reserve. 

The first sum amounts to £19 14s. 5£d., and the second 
sum to £34 3s. 4d., which sums may be safely expended for 
ground and for building for every 1,000 cubic feet of free air- 
space given to the labourer ; or, taken together, a total sum 
of £53 17s. 9£d. per 1,000 cubic feet. 

I find that the experience gained at the four properties I 
have named shows that 4fd. is required per 1,000 cubic feet 



19 

occupied per week to cover management, taxes, insurance, 
and repairs. What we find, therefore, is — (a) that a capital 
sum of £53 17s. 9^d. per 1,000 cubic feet of living space 
must not be exceeded for land and building; and (6) that, 
for the same space, 4f d. must be charged per week as above 
on each occupier. It is now a simple count in proportion to 
discover that the tenant of 1,600 cubic feet must pay 
Is. llfd. per week for his accommodation, so as to leave the 
Corporation or other proprietor free from risk of loss so far as 
he is concerned. 

These facts, drawn from our own experience here, show 
how illusory it is to put this problem on the idyllic platform 
of the three-roomed cottage for our labourer at his present 
wage. It is, like " the poet's dream," alas ! too beautiful to 
be true — too high to be attainable in this interest-loving, 
money-grabbing world. I am, I admit, not one who believes 
the present-day labourer in our country can pay unaided 3s. per 
week for his lodging, or that private owners can house them 
healthily at or near one-tenth of their income. I agree with 
Mr. Boulnois where, in the lecture previously referred to, he 
says — " The dilapidated and dirty condition of the tenement 
blocks which are in the hands of individual owners, and the 
great losses which those owners undoubtedly suffer from 
low-class and unmanageable tenants, seem to point to the 
conclusion that such blocks should be owned and managed 
by powerful bodies, companies, and corporations, who could, 
and would, keep both the buildings and the tenants in fairly 
decent order. The cheapest of cheap dwellings are un- 
questionably wanted; they can only be supplied by the 
strongest of strong hands." 

The truth of the above assertion has quite recently been 
proved in Glasgow by the erection of ten tenements, consisting 
of 68 single and 85 two-roomed houses, in Carntyne Road, 
Haghill. The Corporation entrusted the designing of this 
important block to Messrs. Frank Burnet & Boston, architects in 
the city, who inform me that the whole has been completed, with 
water-closets, washing-houses, &c.,at the low rate of 4*1 pence 



20 

per cubic foot overall measurement. The cubic measurement 
is 829,514 feet, and the total cost £14,425, of which £243 was 
spent in underbuilding, which, from the peculiar character of 
the site, was found to be necessary. 

The two-apartment houses vary in size from 3,426 to 3,548 
cubic feet, and the single apartment I measured came out at 
1,735. The monthly rents of the two former dwellings are 
respectively 15s. 8d. and 16s. 8d., including water rate and 
stair gas, or at the very low rate to the labourer of Is. and 
Is. l|d. per 1,000 cubic feet per week. These are the lowest 
rates for good sanitary houses in this city, if not in the king- 
dom. 

The monthly rent of the single-apartment house above re- 
ferred to, including water and stair gas, is 9s-_10d. per month, 
or Is. 3|d. per 1,000 cubic feet per week, which is only beaten 
by the Corporation single-roomed houses at 45 St. James' 
Road, where the rate is 14'4 pence (this property is on the 
balcony system). 

Houses of a similar class in the immediate vicinity owned 
by private proprietors come out at Is. 3fd. per 1,000 feet per 
week for the two-apartment houses, and Is. 7f d. for single 
apartments ; or, say, 3d. per 1,000 per week more in the one 
case and 4d. more in the other, or differences of £2 5s. and 
£1 9s. 5d. per annum respectively. 

As these dwellings have quite recently been occupied, it is 
not possible to present a complete financial statement, but I 
have no doubt there will be a balance on the right side. 

Lord Provost Chisholm, in his lecture before the Philo- 
sophical Society at the close of 1895, touched upon the vital 
question of who among us benefited or would benefit by 
schemes of improvement and the sanitary housing of our 
labouring classes, if these are to be earned out by the 
Corporation in the future. The question seems to be 
answered by another question — Who all are at present 
suffering, both in pocket and in amenity, from the sad state 
of our present slums ? Who pay the £42,824 expended 
annually in Glasgow for our sick poor and destitute in 



21 

hospitals and poorhouses, and our degraded ones who 
regularly do their dreary days in jail ? Every inhabitant 
suffers, be he landlord or tenant, and he most who is unfor- 
tunate enough to be both. Consequently, it seerhs to me, in 
this broader sense, every upright citizen, apart from Christian 
impulse or hygienic considerations, should rejoice to bear his 
share of the work of radical improvement, if this work would 
tend to reduce the yearly drain on our resources to which I 
have just alluded. 

I do not think there can be divided opinions as to the final 
result of a sweet and wholesome city. The ill-regulated 
lives — whose actions eventuate in destructiveness, disorder, 
and filth — would disappear when their present habitations 
were no more. No landlord, no company, no corporate 
management, would take them in, nor have anything to do 
with them. The sanitary city would be no city for them, and 
in it, I believe, the dread we at present experience in the 
face of epidemics would be for ever banished. 

But that appears as yet only as a prospect in the distant 
future. The Glasgow Corporation has done great deeds, 
and even now is in the midst of uprooting slums, and 
rebuilding homes of comfort and health for the people. We 
all rejoice in this, and I am sure the majority of us are 
prepared to believe that, by the constant steady pursuit of a 
sanitary building policy for labouring people, the Corporation 
and its democracy will become more and more united in the 
furtherance of the vast municipal enterprises which are 
foreshadowed. The Corporation as the careful, judicious 
landlord, and the labourer as the thrifty, law-abiding tenant, 
would bring about a " consummation devoutly to be wished," 
and establish an economic transformation, which would tend 
not only to bind their interests together, but also to inspire 
both with a zeal to see our great city one of the most pro- 
gressive and among the healthiest in the empire. 



8th December, 1900. 



BACK LANDS 



THEIR INHABITANTS 



BY 

PETER FYFE, 

CHIEF SANITARY INSPECTOR OF GLASGOW. 



GLASGOW: 
PRINTED BY ROBERT ANDERSON, 142 WEST NILE STREET. 

1901. 



This Paper is respectfully inscribed to Dr. J. B. Russell, 
late Medical Officer of Health for Glasgow, whose luminous 
lectures upon kindred subjects, and brilliant Health adminis- 
tration in the City, have served as inspiration to his humble 
admirer and friend, 

PETER FYFE. 
..'4th April, 1901. 



BACK LANDS AND THEIR INHABITANTS. 



Back Lands ! — ominous words, full of deep meaning to the 
sanitarian — are in all large cities too often synonymous with 
darkness, decay, death. 

The words " back lands " are a parting legacy left to the 
citizens of Glasgow by her late Medical Officer of Health, Dr. 
J. B. Russell. Before leaving us he indicated very clearly 
that the future improvement of our city lay in the removal 
of many back lands, which, in this twentieth century, still 
remain to darken and curse our civic life. 

I have ventured to address your Association* upon this all- 
important subject, because I believe it is the question of the 
hour, and to prepare your minds for the inevitable condemna- 
tion which must sooner or later fall on those relics of past 
private greed and public neglect. The position of the house 
factor relative to insanitary blocks of such dwellings is quite 
well understood. He is the administrator for somebody else 
— the real owner — and his duty is one of the most difficult it 
is possible to conceive. For although a factor, as such, must 
leave no stone unturned to so administer as to return a 
reasonable interest to his employer, he is, as a man — as a 
private individual — I have good reason to believe, quite 
sensible of the assimilating influence upon his back-land 
tenants of dark and dismal habitations. There are few house 
factors in Glasgow to-day who, in the dual capacity of manager 
and private man, will defend back-land properties, and main- 
tain that they are for the people the right homes in the right 
places. 

As managers, partly responsible for the housing of the 
poorer class of tenants, what are your arguments for their 
continued existence ? Are they not these ? — 

First. — They are there, permitted by former law and 
former authorities, and as such their owners have 
vested rights not to be lightly interfered with ; 

* The Association of House Factors and Property Agents in Glasgow* 



Second. — They serve a certain class of the population 
which, on economic or social grounds, could not be 
equally served in front lands ; and 

Third. — If they were destroyed, there are no houses in the 
city or its suburbs of equal size and rents in which 
their inhabitants could reside. 

Let us consider these positions one by one. 

First. — They are tltere, permitted by former law and 
former authorities, and as such their oivners have vested 
rights not to be lightly interfered with. 

This argument is one which, in a special degree, has been 
recognised by Parliament in all Acts dealing with the closing 
and demolition of what are termed in the Housing of the 
Working Classes Act, 1890, " Obstructive Buildings." Of 
course, all " back lands " or buildings occupied as dwelling- 
houses, and situated behind another land or building facing 
the street, are not " obstructive buildings." Many " back 
lands " are quite sanitary, and have around them plenty of 
air-space for ventilation and access of light ; plenty of ground 
space for ashpits and other conveniences. No argument is 
needed to support their continuance in all time coming as 
suitable dwellings. The argument is only required when (1) 
they are so placed that the back land "stops ventilation, or 
otherwise makes, or conduces to make, such other buildings 
(as the front land) to be in a condition unfit for human 
habitation, or dangerous or injurious to health;" or (2) "if 
they prevent proper measures from being carried into effect 
for remedying any nuisance injurious to health or other evils 
complained of in respect of such other buildings." 

In the latter case the owner may say, " Well, I know 
nothing of the law, and little about the sanitary necessities of 
the case ; all I know is that the building of this back land 
has been allowed by some constituted authority, that it was 
a rent-producing subject, and, in good faith, I invested money 
in it. Am I now to lose my investment because it does not 
conform to modern requirements ?" The law says — "Yes; you 
must lose your investment if it can be proved against the 



property that it is an ' obstructive building ' in the sense of 
either of the above conditions." But, notice, one of these 
conditions must be established by proof, and if the Local 
Authority are satisfied by the proof set before them, and 
order the demolition of the obstructive building, the owner, 
by giving notice within one month, may appeal to the 
" Superior Court," which, by Section 93 of the 1890 Act, 
means the " Supreme Court," which means in Scotland the 
Court of Session. If the owner's argument fails to convince 
that Court that his property is not an " obstructive building," 
then it must be demolished. 

At this stage of the proceedings a new set of conditions 
arise. The argument now carries the owner of the obstructive 
building into certain rights of compensation. His vested 
rights entitle him to claim — -first, compensation for the 
site; second, compensation for the building, based on its. 
" fair market value as a rent-producing subject." These 
are questions which, if not settled amicably between the 
Local Authority and the owner, become the subjects of 
protracted and expensive debate before an arbitrator ap- 
pointed by the Local Government Board. In this arbitration 
there are three platforms for debate — -first, whether the rents 
have been enhanced by overcrowding or other illegal use of 
the dwelling's ; second, whether the dwellings are insanitary 
in themselves, or not in reasonable repair; and third, whether 
the building or any part of it is unfit for human habitation, 
and is not able to be made so fit. 

If none of these things can be proved against it, then full 
compensation on rental must be paid for it, no allowance 
being made for compulsory purchase. 

If the first can be proved, then the arbitrator may reduce 
the basis upon which compensation has to be fixed, viz., the 
rentals. If the second can be made good against it, he can 
deduct from the value the estimated expense of putting the 
property into " reasonably good repair." If the third, then 
only the site and the value of the materials of the buildings,. 
or part thereof, can be claimed by the owner. 



You see. there tore, that the law hedges an owner round 
with good weapons of defence, provided the owner is a man 
or woman who can afford to pay for them. In any case, it 
always allows him to petition to the Local Government Board 
within two months after the order of the Board sanctioning 
any scheme of demolition, in which case confirmation of the 
order is stopped, and the case must go before Parliament 
itself for final confirmation. 

I think these facts should stop complaints that the law 
applicable to the taking away of obstructive back lands 
leaves owners too much at the mercy of Local Authorities. 
Jr -cenis to me to be the other way about, and that a Local 
Authority must at every stage prove its case against an 
obstructive back building up to the very hilt, and, after it 
has done so, it must acquire a site which probably it can't 
use for its own purposes, unless, of course, the back building 
belongs to the same proprietor who owns the front one, in 
which ease the proprietor retains the site, and gets com- 
pensation for his back land, in terms of Section 41 of the 
Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890. 

There are three sets of conditions which lay a ' : back land" 
o} ►en to attack under the 38th Section of the Housing of the 
Working (lasses Act: — 

(1) It stops ventilation : 

(2) It otherwise. makes, or. conduces to make, some other 

building unfit for human habitation : or 

(3) It prevents any nuisance injurious to health, or other 

evils complained of in respect of some other build- 
ing, from being properly removed or remedied. 

Now these terms are general in their character, and leave 
ample room for difference of opinion and debate. What is 
meant by " stopping ventilation ; ' ? When is a building unfit 
for human habitation \ and under what circumstances can 
it, Avith good reason, be urged that contiguity absolutely 
prevents the removal of nuisance ? 



A representation against an obstructive building under 
any of the above three counts may be made to the Local 
Authority (a) by the Medical Officer of Health, or (6) by any 
lour or more inhabitant householders in the district. This is 
all that is necessary to set the law in motion. But a long 
and tortuous path now lies in front of the parties if they 
cannot agree. This is due to the very general and hazy 
terms of the section. It becomes a fight between adverse 
opinions, and affords a splendid field for the exhibition of 
human controversy and the mental gymnastics of that in- 
valuable creature known as " the expert witness." 

Our legal friends and the " experts " are surely the only 
parties who can- sincerely rejoice in the evident inability of 
Parliament to put down in statute law what it really means. 
" If it stops ventilation : " what does that mean ? So far as 
human health is concerned, every house should be able, by 
the opening of its windows and doors, to be filled with fresh 
lvspirable air. Now, there is no house in any city which has 
a fireplace and doors and windows in relatively suitable posi- 
tions which cannot be ventilated, and ventilated well, should 
a fire be burning in the grate. The ventilation of any house 
does not quite depend upon openness of situation. The word 
" ventilation " is quite a misnomer here. It ought to read — 
" If it stops, or tends to stop, a reasonably free circulation of 
air in and around such building." You will notice the one 
condition is quite different from the other. The perfect 
ventilation of mines and tunnels at once occurs to airy one in 
this connection ; but while these and other enclosed or sub- 
merged spaces can, by simple constructional devices and 
appliances, be adequately ventilated, they cannot have a 
" circulation of air " around them. Now, it is this circum- 
ambient space in which the air may have free play that is 
one of the important desiderata in connection with dwelling- 
houses — important, not because any individual house only 
eight or ten feet from its neighbour across the court cannot 
be quite well ventilated, but because the almost equally 
valuable and essential condition of free daylight is not avail- 
able for its inhabitants. 



The value of daylight as a sanitary agent is quite well 
understood and admitted, and yet the Act in this part ^is 
quite silent upon it, and emphasises " ventilation " of a 
building, which has no absolutely necessary connection with 
a too close proximity of one building to another. In its 
second part, it is true, the words " or otherwise makes or 
conduces to make such other building to be in a condition 
unfit for human habitation, or dangerous or injurious to 
health," are employed as an alternative condition ; but I am 
strongly of opinion that if fairly good ventilation can be 
proved to be obtained for each house in a building, and no 
nuisance can be alleged to exist within or immediately with- 
out it, the question of want of sufficient light alone would 
nut, under this part of the Act, be considered sufficient to 
condemn the building as an " obstructive building." The 
section in this part is therefore weak, and should be amended. 

I think that you will agree that any building so near to 
another as to prevent access of a reasonable amount of daylight 
to the dwelling's it contains, is not a building' fit for human 
occupation, and must prove in the long run dangerous to the 
health of its inmates, especially to those who are very young. 

Assuming this, let us consider the question — " What is 
a ' reasonable amount of daylight ' for any dwelling-house ? " 
The theoretical amount is, of course, that which gives a sight 
of the sky from every part of a house at its floor level directly 
opposite the window. This means that every part of the 
floor of any house in front of its window receives direct 
illumination from the sky. Diagram I. exhibits what this 



Diagram I. 



9 



means in practice. Here you have a four-storey building 
such as the Corporation erected for working people at 45 
St. James' Road. The single apartment houses on the 
ground floor are 14 feet 9 inches in length from wall to wall 
inside. In order that the rays of light from the sky should 
impinge upon every part of the floor opposite the windows 
looking out on to the street, the block of buildings on the 
opposite side, 40 feet in height, should not be nearer than 
60 feet. As matter of fact, the street is only 40 feet wide, 
so that 5 feet 6 inches of the floors of the ground flat 
dAvellings get no direct skylight, and therefore do not come 
up to our theory. 

Leaving theory, we have now to consider the legal 
standard. It is that in front of every window there shall be 
a free space of not less than three-fourths of the height of the 
wall of the building in which the window is situated. That 
is to say, that for a four- flatted building 40 feet in height to 
the eaves, the free space shall not be less than 30 feet. 

Diagram II. shows you a 40-feet building on each side of 
a 30-feet street. From this it will be seen that on the floor 



f^li 



level sight of the sky is lost 6 feet 4 inches from the window, 
and the remainder is left to be illuminated by diffused light. 
This, then, is the standard of the Glasgow Police Act, 1866, 
and surely it is fair to assume that all dwellings which do 
not conform to this law, made 35 years ago, are not in this 
year, 1901, adequately lighted, and consequently should be 



10 

placed in the category of houses which are " obstructed " 
themselves, or are, in turn, portion of an "obstructive building" 
in relation to the building opposite to them. This principle 
has been recognised by Parliament in the 40th Section of 
the Glasgow Building Regulations Act, 1900, by which, in 
two years, all dwelling-houses so situated may be absolutely 
closed from human habitation. 

Leaving theory and law, we may now for a moment con- 
sider the matter from a purely practical standpoint — that is, 
from the standpoint which you, as representing proprietors' 
interests, may be supposed to consider it. In what I am now 
about to say I assume you will not be willing to admit that 
direct skylight across the whole floor of a dwelling is 
necessary, nor that every house 'is too dark which is within 
the three-fourths free space already alluded to. I ask you, 
therefore, when is a dwelling-house too dark to be healthy or 
fit for human habitation ? and, mark, the question must be 
answered in relation not to a fine summer day, but in relation 
to the ordinary winter day in our latitude. Is it not when 
an ordinary person on an ordinary winter day cannot see to 
read the type of, say, a newspaper with reasonable facility in 
every open part of the house ? Many a back-land house I 
have gone into in the city where, in the inner side by the 
ingle-neuk, the eyes can neither see to read nor sew, and the 
inevitable oil lamp on a normal winter da}- has to be kept 
alight. There are many of such houses we would have closed 
long ago had we been convinced that the poor persons who 
inhabit them could find, within the city, sanitary dwellings at 
rents within their means. It is a test which may be applied 
by any one, and, so far as I am concerned, will be applied in 
every case, whatever be the distance between the walls of a 
front and back land. Where light cannot enter in sufficient 
amount to permit of a tenant fairly distinguishing even the 
dirt and dust in every open part of the apartment, the apart- 
ment should be closed, as filth in such places is encouraged, 
and the air-space surrounding it is certain to be inadequate. 



i - 

^ ■ | j 


JPP^^ 



Photo. A. 



This shows a range of two-storey back lands behind four-storey 
properties facing a front main street in the city. 

The distance between them is about 21 feet. The ground-fiat 
houses in these back lands are dark, and the ashpits are situated 
too close to the dwellings. 



13 



The second condition, which lays a building or house open 
to attack under the 1890 Act — viz., "it otherwise makes or 
conduces to make some other building unfit for human 
habitation " — points to the want of space upon which an 
ashpit may be sanitarily situated. The Glasgow Building- 
Regulations Act, 1892, lays it down that every ashpit must be 
erected not less than 12 feet from the wall of any dwelling- 
house. This assumes that no court between buildings of any 
height could be permitted of less width than 30 feet, as an 
ashpit of reasonable dimensions must be 7 feet 6 inches broad 
over all. This is a reasonable provision, and serves to show 
how, in sanitation, one provision carries with it other hygienic 
necessities which are not mentioned or even indicated in the 
section itself. The old model bye-laws of the English Local 
Government Board put the minimum distance of an ashpit 
at (J feet. It is difficult to see how any house could be sweet 
and healthy whose window was but a couple of yards from a 
pit into which all the tenants in a building were pouring 
their waste products, and out of which, weekly, these products 
were shot by the scavenger on to the court to temporarily 
pollute the whole of the immediately contiguous houses. But 
even assuming that such a minimum standard were adopted 
in judging as to whether any back land was too near a front 
land to allow of healthy conditions, the very shortest distance, 
taking this view alone, would be 20 feet ; so that, on this 
basis, any back land less than 20 feet from the one in front 
of it would stand condemned.* I am meantime inclined to- 




Diagram III. 



* See Diagram No. in. 



14 

recommend the adoption of this low standard, and advocate 
the sweeping away of all back lands in the city which, being 
behind a building of more than two storeys in height, are not 
further removed therefrom than 20 feet, vested rights not- 
withstanding. Any greater contiguity must mean what is 
conveyed in Part 3 of the Act, viz., " that it prevents any 
nuisance injurious to health from being properly removed or 
remedied." 

I shall now enter upon a consideration of the second argu- 
ment, viz., " They (bach lands) serve a certain class of the 
population which, on economic or social grounds, could not 
be equally served in front lands!' 

This, of course, presupposes two things — (1) that the 
occupiers of the back lands are, as matter of fact, on a 
distinctly lower plane socially than their front-land neigh- 
bours; and (2) that the rents charged for the back-land 
houses are materially lower than those for similar houses in 
the lands or properties facing the street. 

In order to discover certain facts which might help to 
differentiate as between the two classes of tenants, I 
requested the female inspectors, who are so intimately 
acquainted with them and their houses, to ascertain the 
following in one and two-apartment houses : — 



15 



C 

H 



a 

6 



ft 

?5 



o 


> 


on 


3 


O 


V 


i.O 


<1 


->o 


i-l 


C5 


o 




1— 1 


M 


no 


W 


Uh 


n 


.■/J 


^ 


U> 


n 


o 


o 


W 


r/> 




K 




-0 




t-1 




P 




O 




HH 




H 




P4 




<J 




Ph 




G 




65 




i— i 




fc 




O 




H 




w 





pq 

H 



•sjuupu.iuy 
i[o.imio 




"uSia.ioj 



•iisi;.8u;.i 



"S1UBU8X 



•pioi[asnojj ipsa 

jo sSutii.u:g[ 
A"p[aa.\\ sSu.raAV 



jo s3ufamg 



jo sjaqmaj^ 



•.{[jtuiiji jo 
.iaqiunsjj8-Sv!.[3AV 



•asnojj jo 
A'ouiiuax aSBJOAV 



•osiiojj 

jo puaH jo 

sSuiu.a'3 aSciaAV 



•aauds 
aiqu.) aSu.iaAV 



•i^uom 



sasnojj 
jo .laqiunx [ujox 







16 

Fur the purpose of this enquiry 5.508 separate houses 
were visited — 999 in front properties and 4,509 in back 
properties. 

Taking the front lands first, it will be observed that 682 
one-apartment dwellings and 317 two-apartment dwellings 
were visited. The average rentals of the former were found 
to be 9s. 9Ad. per month fur 1.210 cubic feet, which payment 
is made from an average household weekly earning of 21s. Id. 
The corresponding figures for the two-apartment houses in 
front lands are 12s. Id. for 1,893 feet, from 28s. 9d. per week. 

For practically similar accommodation in back lands we find 
that for the single apartments there the average monthly 
rent is 8s. 4jd.. out of a household wage amounting to 19s. 7d. 
per week; and for two-apartment houses there, lis. Hid. 
per month, out of 28s. per week. 

From these figures it appears the front-land tenant of the 
one-apartment house pays 10'5 per cent, of the household 
earnings in rent, and the two-apartment tenant 9'75 per cent. 
of it. The back-land tenant of the single-apartment house 
pays 9"8t) per cent, of the total earnings in rent, and the two- 
apartment tenant there pays 9'51 per cent. 

The status of the one class as against the other is only 
differentiated by Is. 6d. per week in the case of the one- 
apartment households, and by 9d. a week in the case of the 
two-apartment households, while the respective rents they 
pay differ in favour of the back-land tenant of one apartment 
by Is. 5{d. pel- month, and in favour of the back-land tenant 
of the two-apartment dwelling by the small sum of ljd, per 
month. Therefore, in respect of rentals and earnings, there 
is little or nothing to choose between them. Of course, it 
may be urged that, by paving Is. 5|d. a month less for the 
same cubic space, the tenant of the one-apartment house in 
the back land has a material advantage over his front-land 
neighbour, but the same cannot be argued 'for the two-apart- 
ment tenants in the two classes, as no one can, with show of 
reason, state that lid. per month compensates the back-land 
tenant for the difference of his situation. 



17 

Let us now examine the table for any other fact which will 
clearly show that the two classes of tenants are materially 
different. Column 10 has reference to the respectability of 
the tenants, which has been gauged by the inspectors, who 
know them and their habits so intimately. After visiting 
such houses for years one conies to ascertain, with a fair 
amount of correctness, the right of a tenant and his family to 
be certified " respectable." There are unhideable symptoms 
which disclose this — the appearance of the tenant and 
family, their bearing, the state of the house, the character of 
the furnishings in the house, and the undefinable something 
which tells the intelligent visitor whether the tenant is 
or is not a thriftless and dissolute person. Even here the 
figures do not exhibit any marked divergence. It is true 
the difference is in favour of the front-land tenants by from 5 
to (i per cent., but it is not sufficient to suggest that, by 
reason of the want of respectability, the inhabitants of our 
back lands are there and ought to be kept there. Neither is 
it to be found in nativity, nor in religious persuasion. Only 
in the matter of church or chapel attendance is there any- 
thing like marked difference in favour of the tenants of the 
front lands, and. of course, in this matter the word of the 
tenants themselves is all we have to go upon. 

On the whole, then, we are driven to the conclusion that, as 
between the two, there is no well-marked line which divides 
them, either socially or from the point of view of economics. 

As already stated, the Is. oid. per month more paid by the 
tenants of the one-apartment houses in front lands is the 
most striking feature, but against that I have already shown 
in my lecture on " The Housing of the Labouring Classes " 
(1899), that the Corporation are now housing such tenants in 
front properties at 9s. 7d. per month for the use of 1,814 
cubic feet, in place of 8s. 4|d. per month for 1,298 cubic feet 
in the back lands. Did the Corporation front-land single 
apartments contain only 1,298 cubic feet of air space, instead 
of 1,841 cubic feet, the rental would proportionately be about 
<is. !)d. per month, in place of 8s. 4|d. 



18 

Upon this second ground, therefore, I am bound to say- 
there is no argument whatever for the necessity of a continu- 
ance of back lands in our city. 

Let us now examine the third argument, viz., that "If 
the back lands were destroyed, there are no houses in the 
city of equal size and rents in which their inhabitants 
could reside." 

This indeed is, in the words of Dryden, ' : a knockdown 
argument." Where are our backlanders to go when their 
present dismal blocks are demolished ? We cannot do 
without them. Out of the 2,639 back-land families in single 
apartments which were visited for this enquiry, no less than 
1,069 were those of unskilled labourers, or 40 per cent, of the 
whole. Of the 1,872 tenants of the two-apartment dwellings 
in back lands, 885 were unskilled labourers, or 47 per cent. 
These, our " hewers of wood and our drawers of water," have, 
like Childe Harold, only too good cause in many cases to 
cry — " Oh ! that the desert were my dwelling-place." But in 
cities they must live, both for their own sakes and for the 
sake of our welfare in this great industrial community. 

Glance over the Table No. II., which shows the callings of 
all the tenants that were called upon. Here we have 
as " backlanders," bakers, blacksmiths, butchers, cabmen, 
carters, dairy workers, domestic servants, engineers, firemen, 
hammermen, hawkers, joiners, lamplighters, laundresses, 
masons, pickle workers, plasterers, plumbers, postmen, 
printers, salesmen, scavengers, seamen, seamstresses, shoe- 
makers, skilled labourers, slaters, tailors, toy makers, umbrella 
coverers, waiters, and others too numerous to mention, whose 
labour has the most intimate connection with the city's well- 
being as a whole, and whose services may be requisitioned by 
any one of our citizens from the highest to the lowest. I 
often wonder if the better classes in our city adequately 
realise the possible, nay, the probable, intimate connection, 
all unsuspected often, of the "backlander" baker, butcher, 
tailor, seamstress, waiter, with their own lives and social 
circle. I fear they too often listen irresolute, like Macbeth to 




Photo. B. 



Tbis is a view of a back land, looking east. 

It is about 21 feet from the four-storey land in front of it. In 
the ground-floor houses, in broad day, I could not read a news- 
paper article standing at the back of the apartment in front of the 
window, and the tenant said she could not sew except by the aid 
of a lamp. 



21 



TABLE II.— SHOWING OCCUPATION OF THE TENANTS OF 5,50S ONE 
AND TWO-APARTMENT TICKETED HOUSES IN GLASGOW. 





Front 

Lands. 


Back 

Lands. 


Occupation. 


Front 
Lands. 


Back 
Lands. 


Occupation. 


One 
Apt. , 


Two 
Apts. 


One | Two 
Apt. Apts. 


One 1 
Apt. | 


Two 

Apts. 


One 

Apts. 

105 


Two 

Apt. 


Actor, 






... 


1 


Broi. forward, 


28 


17 


74 


Bagsewer, - 


1 




3 




Car Conductor, 






2 


o 


Bilker, 


6 ; 


3 


23 


6 


Car Driver, 






1 


1 


Barber, 


o 


1 


4 


4 


Carpet Weaver, 








1 


Basketmaker, 






1 




Carter, 


38 


12 


117 


82 


Beltmaker, - 








I 


Cartwright, 






2 


2 


Bill Deliverer, 






1 




Charwoman, 


34 


11 


220 


70 


Billposter, - 






1 


3 


Cigarette Maker. 




1 


1 




Blacksmith, 


1 


- 


24 ]2 


Clerk, 


2 


1 




3 


Boilermaker, 


9 


a 


8 8 


Clothlapper, 






o 




Boltmaker, - 






2 




Coachbuilder, - 


1 




... 




Bookbinder, 




1 


4 


1 


Coalman, 


1 


1 


2 


.> 


Bottle Labeller, - 




1 


... 




Coal Merchant, 








1 


Boxmaker, - 


1 




<; 


.") 


Confectioner, - 






1 




Brassfinisher, 


o 


2 


s 


(i 


Cooper, - 


1 


1 


9 


5 


Bricklayer, - 


1 




5 


S 


Coppersmith, - 


2 


... 


3 


] 


Brick maker, 






o 


1 


Dairy Worker, 






2 




Brushmaker, 


1 




1 


•> 


Domestic, 


21 


1G 


139 


92 


Butcher, 






1 


1 


Dressmaker, 


2 








Cabinetmaker, 


o 




4 


6 


Driller, - 


1 




o 


1 


Cabman, 




1 


5 


7 


Drover, - 








1 


Calenderer, 


1 


1 






Dyer, 






2 


3 


Canal Boatman, - 






2 


1 


Dyker, - 






3 


1 


■Canvasser, - 




17 




1 


Electrician, 
Carry forward. 


Ll 








Carry forward, 


28 


105 

i 


74 


132 


60 


619 


342 



00 





Front 


Hack 




Fr 


3XT 


Lack 


Occupation. 


Lands. 


Lands. 





Lai 


'DS. 


Lands. 


One 


Two 


One 


Tiro 




One 


Two 


One 


Two 




Apt. 


Apts. 


Apt. 


Apts. 




Apt. 


Apts. 


Apt. 


Apts. 


Brot. forward, 


132 


60 


619 


342 


Brot. forward, 


496 


221 


1,867 


1,370 


Enameller, 






1 




Lamplighter, - 


1 


3 


10 


S 


Engineer, - 


7 


5 


16 


12 


Lather, - 


1 




3 


3 


Engineman, 


1 




2 


5 


Laundress, 




1 


5 


5 


Farm Worker, - 






3 




Lodging-house 




















Keeper, 


4 


3 


7 


14 


Fireman, 


32 


10 


16 


23 


Machinist, 


5 




O.I 


5 


Fishcurer, - 






6 




Marble Worker, 








o 


Fish-hook Maker, 








1 


Mason, 


1 




25 


14 


Fitter, 


1 




3 


6 


Mattress Maker. 








1 


Gardener, - 


o 




4 




Miller, - 


1 






1 


Gilder, 






o 


1 


Millworker, 


2 




27 


5 


Glassblower, 








1 


Millwright, 








1 


Glazier, 






3 


1 


Miner, 


4 




52 


24 


Gravedigger, 








1 






















Moulder, - 


S 


4 


38 


44 


Grinder, 






1 


1 


Nailmaker, 


1 








Grocer, 






1 
























No occupation, 


30 


22 


199 


95 


Hammerman, 


10 


3 


16 


20 


Nurse, 






1 




Hawker, 


4 


5 


70 


45 


Packer, - 






1 


1 


Holder-on, - 




2 


... 
























Painter, - 


4 


o 


19 


15 


Insurance Agent, 






1 




Paper Cutter, - 


1 




1 




Interpreter, - 




1 






Paper Maker, - 






3 


2 


Ironturner, - 




1 


2 




Patternmaker, - 






1 


1 


Ironworker, 


1 


1 


8 


9 


Photographer, - 






2 




Joiner, 


3 


1 


24 


17 


Pickle Worker, 






3 


1 


Labourer, - 


303 


132 


1,069 


885 




















1,370 


Pipemaker, 
Carry forward, 


559 


1 
257 


3 
2,289 


3 


Carry forward. 


496 


221 


1,867 


1,615. 



23 





Feont 
Lands. 


Back 
Lands. 




Front 
Lands. 


Back 
Lands. 


Occupation. 






Occupation. 








One 
Apt. 


Two 
Apts. 


One 
Apt. 


Two 

Apts. 


One 
Apt. 


Two 

Apts. 


One 

Apt. 


Two 

Apts , 


Brot. forward, 


559 


257 


2,289 


1,615 


Brot, forward, 


590 


277 


2,389 


1,686 


Plasterer, - 


2 




3 


3 


Ship Carpenter, 


1 


1 


1 




Plater, 


1 








Shirt Finisher, 


1 




1 




Platelayer, 








1 


Shoemaker, 


7 


3 


40 


43 


Plumber, 




1 


2 


2 


Showman, 




3 


4 


3 


Pointsman, 

Polisher, 

Porter, 

Postman, 

Pottery Worker, - 

Poulterer, - 

Printer, 


1 

... 
1 


1 
1 
2 

o 


1 
9 
1 
5 

9 


1 
1 

5 
1 
o 

1 
5 


Skilled 
Labourer, 

Skindresser, 

Slater, 

Soldier, - 

Soldier's Wife, 

Spindlemaker, - 

Stableman, 


40 

1 
10 

1 


17 

1 
2 

1 


105 
2 

7 
2 

1 
2 


64 

I 

10 

1 

2 


Quarryman, 

Rag-store 
Worker, 






1 
3 


i 


Stair Railer, - 
Steeplejack, 








1 

1 


Ratcatcher, 






1 


1 


Stickbreaker, - 


1 




8 




Rigger, 


4 


1 


o 


4 


Steward, - 




1 




1 


Rivetter, 


6 


6 


9 


8 


Stonebreaker, - 






1 


1 


Saddler, 






2 




Street Musician, 






2 


... 


Sailmaker, - 


1 








Surfaceman, 






2 


3 


Salesman, - 


1 


1 


11 


5 


Sweep, 




1 


1 




Sawyer, 




1 


3 


1 


Tailor, 


9 


3 


16 


27 


Scavenger, - 






4 


3 


Tailoress, 


1 








Seaman, 


2 




17 


10 


Tallowmelter, - 






1 




Seamstress, 


11 


4 


16 


10 


Tilelayer, 






1 




Shawl Fringer, - 


1 




1 
2,389 


1,6S6 


Tinsmith, 
Carry forward, 


3 


3 


8 


2 


Carry forward, 


590 


277 


665 


313 


2,594 


L846. 



24 



Front 
Lands. 



Hack 
Lands. 



Occupation. 



One Two One Two 

Apt. | Aprs, i Apt. Apts. 



Brot. forward, 


665 


olo 


•2,594 


Toolmaker, 






1 


Toymaker, - 






4 


Transferer, - 






1 


Traveller, - 








Trimmer, 


1 






Twister, 






2 


Umbrella 








Coverer, - 


1 




4 


Upholsterer, 






1 


C(trry forward, 


667 


313 


2,607 



1,846 



1,854 



Occupation. 



Front 
Lands. 



Lack 
Lands. 



One Two One Two 
Apt. Aprs. ' Apt. Aprs. 



Brot. forward, 

Venetian Blind 
Maker, 

Waiter, - 

Warehouseman, 

Watchman, 

Weaver, - 

Window 
Cleaner, 

Wireworker, - 

Woodturner, - 

Total, 



007 



6S2 



313 2,607 1,S54 

1 
3 



3 

1 13 

1 
3 
1 

•2,038 



317 



1,871 



the apparition of the bloody child, and croon to themselves — 
"Then live, back lands; what need I fear of thee?" In 
quiet and normal times, when pestilence is only heard of as 
stalking in distant lands, the public conscience is too apt to 
be soothed into this frame of mind. The apparition then 
seems to bid all "laugh to scorn the power of" slums I But 
in times like the present (1901), the apparition speaks in 
trumpet tones, " Beware ! St. Mungo ! " and then, like the 
changeful Macbeth, our better-class citizens bethink them- 
selves like him, and cry out against slumland — 

•• But yet we'll make assurance double sure, 
And take a bond of fate : thou shalt not live." 

This is always the sanitarian's mental attitude towards the 
class of back lands I have been referring to — " Thou shalt not 
live." Yet they do live, and live to hurt and destroy. 

But the argument against the " death " of back lands is 
contained in the sad fact that there are no cheap sanitary 
houses to be had in front lands nor other lands within 




Photo. C. 



This is a view, looking south, of a back land near the river. 
It is taken above the level of the eaves of the back property, and 
exhibits clearly how it has been built upon the area which naturally 
should be the back court of the property in front of it. 




Photo. D. 



This is the complement of Photo. C, looking north. 

The back land is well shown on the right hand side. The 
death-rate of this area is one of the highest in the city, being 
31 per 1,000 per annum. 



29 

■Glasgow. If I put the houses vacant in the whole city under 
£(j of rental at (iOO in all, I feel certain I overstate the 
supply. 

Here, then, Ave have in a nutshell the slum landlord's best 
argument for being left alone. He is a public benefactor 
until the public build for the labouring classes, because he is 
keeping a roof over the heads of those who, apart from his 
back blocks, would have "no place wherein to lay their 
heads." 

In this city it is not hundreds of good, substantial, cheap 
labourers' dwellings that we urgently need, but thousands of 
them, and until we have thousands of them, built by a 
powerful body or by the Corporation, and placed under care- 
takers, our city won't be right. 

I have said that the slum landlord is. as things remain at 
present, a public benefactor. But this he is only in a nega- 
tive way, and because he can't help it. His public benefaction 
runs parallel with his private interest. Unless he is compelled, 
he won't, as a rule, keep his property in thorough repair: he 
won't give his tenants water-closet accommodation or sinks 
and water supply in each house, except under official orders ; 
and official orders in many cases are not forthcoming, because it 
is considered the said " orders " might bolster up his property 
against future attack. The landlord or factor who continues 
waiting for official orders, and consequently does nothing to 
put his back land into a good sanitary state so far as it can be 
put, apart from its " obstructive " situation, does not under- 
stand the meaning of the Act of Parliament I have alluded 
to in the first part of my lecture. But he ought to under- 
stand the meaning of the unwholesome and insanitary 
conditions under which his tenants have to live. I do not 
think it is necessary for me to go into nauseating details in 
order to exemplify, within the homes of the poor, the practical 
import of the want of " suitable and convenient water-closet 
accommodation," or the want of sink and water supply for 
each family. Each can imagine for himself what would 
happen in his house at times if these all-important adjuncts 



30 

to a clean family life were absent or difficult of access. You 
all may see the results I refer to by visiting the homes of the 
poor at night, or, if you cannot see it, you. can smell it. 

Before passing on to a consideration as to the houses 
which must replace insanitary back lands in Glasgow, I 
desire to say a word upon the state of many of the courts 
behind the humble tenements, and the dangers which arise 
therefrom. Too many of these are not only badly paved, but 
are not paved at all, the surface being of earth, or, at best, 
covered with ashes. Now, this is a condition of matters 
which, in the interests of cleansing and of public health, 
sin mid not continue, whether there is a back land or no 
back land. An impervious surface is desirable behind such 
dwellings in a city under any circumstances, but it becomes 
absolutely necessary under our present ashpit system. Once 
or twice a week the foul contents are pitched out on to the 
surface, and in wet weather much of the organic matter is 
washed into the ashes or earth surface. It is impossible to 
doubt that myriads of disease germs of all kinds form a part 
of such material. Perhaps one of the most important is the 
bacillus of enteric fever; at any rate, we can take this disease 
as an example of what occurs in connection with others, such 
as tuberculosis and diarrhoea, two of our most deadly enemies.. 
When enteric fever invades such a tenement, the infected 
parties probably go about for some time with the disease 
upon them before it becomes recognised. The dejecta are, of 
course, where water-closets don't exist, thrown into the 
ashpit, and from the ashpit, in due time, are cast out on to 
the pervious surface of the court. The most expert scavenger 
cannot pick up again all he throws down, and consequently 
the air becomes the carrier of the typhoid virus. Cases, of 
infection from this disease have occurred from time to time, 
which cannot be traced in Glasgow to water or to milk, and, 
although the path of infection is in the great majority of 
cases through the digestive tract, it is recognised by the 
highest authorities that the lungs may occasionally represent 
the seat of invasion. But even assuming- that the invasion 



31 

by the respiratory organs is rare, there still remains the- 
contamination of the food, which in such dwelling's is seldom 
far removed from the infected court surfaces. Yen will see, 
therefore, how important it is that all such courts should be 
asphalted or concreted, so that all offensiveness that may be 
left by the scavenger is, after his operation, immediately 
" hosed " off the surface into the drains. There is no doubt 
that sunlight and air destroy the typhoid bacilli as well as 
almost all others, but there remain the " resting spores " of 
the disease, which remain in a quiescent condition for a 
long time, and only await an opportunity to gain access to a 
body capable of being affected, and there develop into bacilli 
and begin anew their cycle of existence. We cannot await 
the advent of our new sanitary dwellings for the poor before 
reforming our back courts. It ought to be done now, and 
until it is done our poorer quarters will not be free from the 
probable invasion of disease, the rise and progress of which 
appear to the ordinary mind so mysterious. 

And now as to the course of the future. The grimy 
inhabitants — the labourers, seamstresses, tailors, butchers, and 
bakers — who crowd in our back lands, what is to be done fi ir 
them -or with them I They cannot be turned out on to the 
streets ! Insurrection lies that way, and the butchery and 
devil's work which comes of contact with the military. No ! 
they must remain in their absolutely cheerless abodes until the 
day of their salvation comes. Some of us seem to think they 
ought to be able to work out their own salvation, and that 
dingy, airless, viewless surroundings should in no way prevent 
inner sweetness and scrupulous cleanliness. This myth is 
accepted as a truth by many well-meaning persons, who affect 
to see in the universal and strict, and even harsh, applica- 
tion of police law. a remedy for the uncleanness of slumland. 
Gentlemen, I cannot accept the myth, because I am satisfied 
by long experience that it is a myth— false to the core. You 
do not look for grapes in a land where there is no sunshine, so 
you cannot look for cleanliness where there is defective light- 
Darkness and dirt are as mother and daughter in the dingy 



32 

back land, and no police regulations that were ever made, or 
soever put into execution, will bring sweetness out of, or put 
sweetness into, slums. Therefore, the cry of 50 per cent, of 
our poor, who, I believe, wish to be clean, goes up in what 
Carlyle calls " the huge inarticulate question — What do you 
mean to do with us ? " Britain is ringing now with the 
question put in articulate form in the House of Lords but a 
short time ago, and the Government, through the voice of 
Lord Salisbury, answered- — We cannot tell meantime, we are 
trying to grapple with the sphinx-riddle. And so, without 
State guidance or State aid, Local Authorities have to 
struggle on with the unsatisfactory Act of 1890 chained to 
their feet — struggle on through congestion, dirt, and epidemic 
disease, spending huge sums of money in the work of cure, 
which would have been much better spent in prevention. 

It is difficult, without making an actual survey, to say what 
is immediately required in this city in the way of sanitary 
houses for the decent poor. I am quite safe, however, in 
stating that not less than 2,000 one and two-apartment 
houses should be erected with as little delay as possible upon 
light and airy situations and convenient to the city. These 
should be erected in blocks, on somewhat similar lines to 
those recently built by the Corporation at Haghill, where 
£14,425 was spent in providing 153 labourers' dwellings. 
This would involve a cost of £180,000 for building, and would 
accommodate, at our present standard of occupancy (400 
cubic feet per adult), 12,974 persons over ten years of age. 
It would necessitate the purchase of 42,240 square yards or 
thereby of land, which, taking the average cost at 10s. per 
yard, would cause the expenditure of £21,120 more. 

The total sum, therefore, in land at 10s. per yard, and the 
necessary buildings of four storeys in height, with ample yard 
space behind, would come out at about £201,120. 

Were such a scheme put in hands and completed, say; 
within the next five years, a beginning could be made in 
earnest with the condemnation and destruction of insanitary 
.back blocks, which at the present time is quite impracticable. 



33 

In no other way dare we attempt to relieve the present 
congestion. Glasgow will not, I trust, fall into the mistake of 
London, particularly in her Boundary Street Area Scheme, 
whereby 5,719 persons were to be displaced — 2,000 im- 
mediately, and before any new accommodation was. provided 
for them. The result was the scattering of this great 
number of low-class tenants to find such accommodation as 
they best could in the surrounding neighbourhood, and, as I 
am informed, in the overcrowding of the district. 

This putting of the cart before the horse is alwaj T s to be 
deprecated. It is easy to range within a half-mile radius of 
a scheme in any city, count the number of vacant houses 
within that circular mile, and state, " Yes, there are so and so 
vacant houses ; go on with the demolition." That is not the 
question. If there be not a sufficiency of houses of the size 
and the rental demanded by those to be displaced within a 
reasonable distance, then the demolition should not be 
sanctioned until there is, or until, by the erection of new 
buildings, a sufficient number of suitable dwellings have 
been erected. 

There are other lessons to be learned of the gravest im- 
portance from a survey of working-class buildings in the 
English Metropolis, where, I regret to say, land seems to 
be so expensive as to have caused back lands to be recently 
built, which cannot be considered to contain, in the lower 
fiats, healthy dwellings for the people. One immense block 
I visited, containing five storeys and attics, stands only 36 
feet behind a similar structure facing the street. In Glasgow 
I trust such a thing could not happen, notwithstanding the 
relaxation which is permissible under the Building Regu- 
lations Act in the case of blocks of dwellings for the working 
classes. 

The houses in such blocks should be of a fair size. The 
cramping down of rooms, as we find can evidently be accom- 
plished in London, to 13 feet by 11 feet by 8 feet 6 inches for 
the kitchen, and 13 feet by 8 feet by 8 feet 6 inches for the 
bedroom, or a total of 2,099 cubic feet in two-apartment 



34 

houses, should by no means be encouraged. I find that there 
such houses are let by the County Council at 5s. per week, or 
£13 per annum; whereas, in Glasgow, our Corporation give a 
two-apartment house of 3.500 cubic feet for £10 per annum, 
•or 3s. lOd. per week. 

Of course, we all must admit, I think, that the much 
maligned one-apartment house is, in all large cities, an 
absolute necessity, but it should contain not less than 1.600 
cubic feet of free air-space, and should not be rented at more 
than is charged by our Improvement Trust for 1,800 cubic 
feet, viz., 2s. 2id. per week, or £5 14s. lOd. per annum 
(water and stair gas included), which comes in at about one- 
tenth of the unskilled labourer's wage. 

Compare this with the " Culham " single-apartment 
dwellings of the London County Council on the Boundary 
Street Area, with an air-space of about 1,324 cubic feet, and 
a rental of 3s. (3d. per week, or £9 2s. yearly. Unskilled 
labourers in London at these charges, and adopting our basis 
of his rent being at a tenth of his wage, would require to earn 
35s. Aveekly. I do not know what he earns there, but I am 
certain it does not amount to the sum named, so that either 
he is not to be found at all in the Council's single apartments 
on that area, or he is paying more nearly one-sixth than one- 
tenth of his earnings in rent for his small apartment. 

That is, I contend, not as it should be. So long as Glasgow 
can house her labourers, as she has shown she can do, in a 
roomy and sanitary house at or near a tenth of their average 
income, and leave a small surplus for sinking fund and 
reserve, she shall require no aid from the imperial exchequer, 
and, that being so, she shall not only feel independent of such 
aid, but will be in a position to oppose the appropriation of 
State funds to such a purpose in London or other populous 
centres, where either the land or other commodities are so 
inflated in value as to render there a solution of the housing 
problem insoluble without recourse to country situation arid 
cheap workmen's trains. 

Now, before closing my remarks, permit me to say a few 




Photo. E. 



The Inspector is shown here standing at the end of a narrow 
court between the back land and a second back land in the 
Cowcaddens district. 

This is one of the worst samples of congestion in modern 
Glasgow. 



37 

words upon the important question of housing the poorer 
classes in country districts. The ostensible reason for this is, 
of course, to escape from the payment of dear land, and the 
consequent burden which dear land puts upon the rents pay- 
able by the poor. My experience among the poor drives me 
to the conclusion that they do not wish to be housed in the 
country, but in the city,' near their work, and near the bustle 
and excitement of life. I feel bound to state this, however 
much I may sympathise with the common idea that the 
segregation of the poor is in their own interest and in the 
interest of the whole community. 

By building a good, substantial, four-storey block of work- 
men's dwellings upon ground costing 30s. per square yard, 
demanding the payment of 3 per cent, on the capital 
exjjended; or upon ground costing 15s. per square yard, and 
demanding the payment of 6 per cent, on the capital 
expended, I find that the labourer does not pay more than 
6d. per week for a two-apartment house containing 2,000 
cubic [feet, and 9d. per week for one containing 3,000 
cubic feet. Now, what would he have to pay per week for 
railway carriage to and from his daily work ? I find that 
under the Railways Acts of 1899 the South-Eastern and 
London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, and the Charing 
Cross, Euston, and Hampstead Line, charge 2d. for the return 
journey not exceeding four miles out and four miles back. 
This is admittedly very cheap travelling ; yet, cheap as it is, 
it costs one individual Is. per week, to say nothing of the 
travelling requirements of any others of the family. It is a 
common condition in a labourer's family that, at the least, 
one more of the family is working. Where this happens, 2s. 
per week would be required to meet travelling expenses, or a 
sum which would enable the labourer to sit upon city ground 
near his labour, in a house of 3,000 cubic feet, costing £3 per 
square yard, and still leave him 6d. per week in pocket, and 
this, be it remembered, on the assumption that he shall pay 
nothing for his ground in the country. 

The land question, therefore, up to £3 per square yard, 



38 

means nothing to the labouring man with a family, from an 
economic point of view, unless the State or the Municipality 
pays for his train. Then, and then only, will the poor, who are 
at present housed in the city, find it to be to their interest 
financially to sacrifice their longings for city residence and 
reside in suburban areas. Every shilling in their case has 
to be carefully counted, and until you can show them that 
it will be cheaper to go out, they will, I believe, remain in. 

Whatever be the final outcome of the earnest consideration 
which the Government has promised to give to this grave 
and great question, it is difficult to conceive there will be 
any juggling with either the facts or the figures. It will 
not avail. Land to be redeemed from labourers' rents, and 
buildings built to be stable and sanitary for 100 years, to 
be redeemed in 40 or 50 years, will not do. These pro- 
visions may be considered satisfactory from the capitalists' 
point of view, or from the view of the Treasury, but we 
may rest assured the growing sense and intelligence of the 
nation on the " housing " problem will condemn the imj)osi- 
tion of any burden on the poor which is not perfectly 
reasonable, and Avhich tends rather to protect capital than to 
protect the struggling among our population in their securing 
a sanitary dwelling at the lowest possible cost consistent 
with economic safety. 

I fear there is too much stress in these days laid upon the 
question as to how to secure that the housing of the poor 
may be made to pay the undertakers. Those who enter upon 
the solution of this problem with " making it pay " in their 
minds had better leave it alone. The poor cannot make it 
pay. They can only clear their feet, and return a bare 3 per 
cent, interest in money ; but, under adequate conditions and 
proper care, they can pay in a higher and nobler sense, by 
becoming a sound, healthy, and happy integral part of an 
empire upon which the sun never sets. 




— to 

2o N S x ujeMCsusiesJCvi — ~ — "" 

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Photo. F. 



A corner in High Street. This property was recently acquired 
by the Improvement Trust, and will shortly be demolished. 



Printed and Circulated for the Committee on Health, Police 
Department, Corporation of Glasgow. 



Wat the 9eopfe tfkep Upon. 



It has been said that " there are combinations of evil, 
against which no human energies can make a stand." 
Combinations of evil, at all events in a sanitary sense, 
seem peculiarly attachable to a certain class of the people. 
It is this class I had in my mind when I put down the 
word " people " in the title of the present paper. The 
major part of the people in this city are composed of those 
who nightly sleep in houses of one or two apartments. 
The most of them dwell in this limited space because they 
cannot afford to pay for more. Poverty compels them. 
The combinations of evil which dog the heels of poverty 
anywhere, but especially in the welter of city life, are only 
really known by those who day by day go down among it ; 
and even they would need a microscopic eye to see the 
causes of the evils there. We see diseases the origin of which 
we cannot trace ; they spring up here and there in appar- 
ently unconnected series, and, science baffled, labels them 
sporadic. They linger persistently in the poorer quarters 
of the town, and the prescription of preventive medicine — 
cleanse the house, flush the drains, hose-wash the courts, 
limewash the ashpits, and all the other hygienic formula? 
— appear to fail as a panacea for them. Enteric, 
dysentery, diarrhoea — autumn after autumn seem as busy 
as ever among the people. To me it has always appeared 
unaccountable that, with a wet climate, an irreproachable 
water supply, daily supplies of uncontaminated milk, a 
closely guarded meat and food supply, a reasonably perfect 
sewage system, and gigantic cleansing operations con- 
tinually proceeding — we should still witness the sufferings 
of the people from obviously preventable diseases such as 
I have named, and others I have not named. It may be 



that every weapon which bacteriology and chemistry can 
arm us with will fail to bring our elusive enemies within 
striking distance, but it appears to me one of the duties 
of sanitaiy inspectors to be also sanitary " suspectors," 
and leave no covert unsearched and unbeaten in which 
these enemies may be lurking. 

It was in such a frame of mind I happened to be, when, 
in the company of friends fully a year ago, one of them, 
who was in the bed-making trade, began to speak of some 
new pine-fibre material he was introducing to this country, 
which would be cheaper and healthier than hair to sleep 
upon. The conversation soon turned upon the whole 
question of bedding material, and this expert's opinion 
was that much of the material of which beds were made, 
and particularly wool-flock, with which also chairs, sofas, 
and cushions were stuffed, was of a most objectionable 
kind. I determined, when time would permit, and upon a 
suitable occasion, to make some investigation into the 
subject. This Congress of The Sanitary Institute seemed 
to offer the chance of a wider publicity for its consideration 
than any local meeting could ; so, in view of to-day, I pro- 
ceeded to collect some special information on what the 
poorer of our people sleep upon. I called to my aid some 
makers of common wool-flock, wholesale vendors of this 
material, some of the sanitary staff (male and female), and, 
finally, the Corporation Chemist, Mr. Harris, and the City 
Bacteriologist. Dr. Buchanan ; and to all I have been much 
indebted for their hearty co-operation. Let me now 
present you with a brief statement of the proceedings 
which were taken, and the facts which have been brought 
to light. 

I think you will agree with me that the existing state 
of affairs is most deplorable, and that this conference of 
sanitary inspectors from the four corners of the United 
Kingdom and Ireland would be wanting in appreciation 
of the magnitude of the evil, if it did not unanimously call 
upon the Council of the Institute to earnestly press upon 
the Government, the need for immediate reform. 



The first proceeding was to discover the truth with 
regard to the exact nature of this wool-flock. I accord- 
ingly visited the works of several makers of it in this city. 
There, in the middle of February, I witnessed in each 
place a conglomeration of filthy rags — the offcast of 
every class of the population, from the wealthy of the 
West-end to the tramp and vagrant of the East. I 
examined certain individual parts of material, which 
was to be made by the " Devil " into bedding for 
the people. (I may explain that this is the appropriate 
name given to the machine which performs the laniary 
process.) 

To explain to you, in Parliamentary language, what I 
observed on some of the torn garments would be impossible. 
It is better left to the imagination. Only those pieces, 
soaking wet or too damp for the " Devil " to tear into 
shreds, were cast aside to be stoved, either beside the 
steam boiler or in a special drying chamber heated by 
steam. Nothing in the nature of cleansing or disinfection 
is attempted. All goes into the machine if sufficiently 
dry. At the other end it comes out as " flock," shredded 
so finely by the spikes or teeth on the periphery of the 
drums as to appear as fluffy wool of a dark grey, black, or 
brown hue, depending on the colour of the rags passing 
through tEe machine. 

I show you here, in a glazed wooden case, the various 
kinds of flock used as bedding, 12 in number, and the 
wholesale prices of each class. I will refer to the contents 
of the case later on. 

The great mass of dust and finely-powdered filth which 
is set free by the " Devil " is blown by a fan attached to 
it, into a dust chamber, out of which much of it finds its 
way into the surrounding atmosphere. 

From one of the factories I secured in February last 
fully a pound of the flock as it came from the machine. 
At the sanitary office I weighed off half-a-pound. The 
Corporation Chemist gave me two Winchester jars of cold 
distilled water, in which I twice rinsed this quantity. 



The first rinsing was in 2'09 litres, or '45 of a gallon, for 
ten minutes ; and the second rinsing in the distilled water 
of the second jar, containing 2'5 litres, or '55 of a gallon, 
for an equal time. These two samples of denied water were 
then handed to the Corporation Chemist for analysis. His 
report to me is contained in the table, page 5. 

In order that you may be able to grasp the extent of 
the nlthiness of this bedding, the chemist, at my request, 
has placed underneath, on the third row, his corresponding 
analysis of average Glasgow crude sewage for the quarter 
ending 29th February. Under every heading the bedding 
shows very badly, as compared with the sewage. Ex- 
pressed in grains per gallon, the sewage contained '816 of 
free and saline ammonia, against 1'924 grains in the 
rinsings from half-a-pound of the flock. Of albuminoid 
ammonia, against '236 for the sewage, we have 2' 002 for 
the flock. The oxygen absorbed in four hours at 27° 
Centigrade by the sewage was 3'811 grains, against 13'840 
grains for the bedding. Of chlorine, 12' 6 for the sewage, 
against 22'4 for the bedding. 

Now look at the total suspended solids in the crude 
sewage, as compared with that found in the two rinsings 
of this half-pound of flock. For the average sewage we 
note it is 24'4 grains per gallon, while in the bedding 
rinsings it reached the alarming figure of 227' 07 grains 
per gallon. You will observe that, even the second ten 
minutes' rinsing of the flock contained almost three times 
more suspended solids than had been found in the sewage. 

I will not weary you with further comparisons (the 
tables tell their own dreadful story), but I finally direct 
your attention to the last column, in which you will see 
that the suspended solids rinsed during twenty minutes 
from the flock formed 3 '12 per cent, of the whole. 

In case it might be urged in criticism that the material 
I secured at this flock-making factory might have been 
of a specially filthy character, I caused a new flock bed, 
bolster, and two pillows to be purchased on the 10th of 
May from one of our largest city house furnishers. I 



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first shook and beat the bed on a clean dust-free floor, 
in order to ascertain if the dried dust and filth could come 
through the ticking. I found it did so, showing that the 
tick permits a considerable quantity to escape whenever 
the bed is shaken or made. 

I then sent the whole up to the Sanitary Wash-house 
at Ruchill, with instructions to the manager to clean out 
one of the machines thoroughly, weigh the wool-flock very 
carefully, and then rinse it for half-an-hour in pure cold 
water. He did so, and sent me the result as follows : — 

The two pillows contained 4 lbs. 10 oz. of flock; the 
bolster, 5 lbs. 4 oz. ; the bed, 32 lbs. 3 oz. ; or 42 lbs. 1 oz. 
in all. After half-an-hour's rinsing in the machine, the 
flock was taken out and dried. It was again weighed 
most carefully, coming out at 40 lbs. 2 oz. ; thus showing 
a loss of 31 oz., or almost 2 lbs. avoirdupois, or a loss of 
4'86 per cent, of the total weight. 

The contents of this new bed were, therefore, found to 
contain a greater percentage of solid matter than was found 
by the Chemist in his half-pound of selected flock. 

In order to present you with an ocular demonstration 
of the filth which was rinsed out of it, I asked the manager 
to slowly evaporate the rinsings until they could be con- 
tained in a Winchester bottle. The bottle is before you. 
This black, dirty-looking mass I pour out into a receiver 
on the table, so that any one may examine it for himself. 

You see here a second bottle full of a clear brownish 
liquor. It contains some of the rinsing passed through 
filter paper, in order to show the amount of colour which 
is due to dye alone. 

The third bottle shows you part of this filtration dis- 
tilled, by which, it will be observed, a perfectly clear 
liquid is again obtained. 

Having now satisfied myself as to the extremely ob- 
noxious character of this description of bedding, I asked 
some of the male and female inspectors to make enquiries 
in the homes of the lower classes, for the purpose of 
ascertaining the kinds of bedding the majority sleep upon. 



About 2,300 houses in all were visited, in which special 
investigation was made into the composition of 3,163 
beds. The following is the result : — Hair beds, 22 ; 
feather beds, 115 ; clean flock, 37 ; cotton clippings, 103 ; 
straw, 371 ; chaff, 39 ; shavings, 4 ; old clothes, 1 ; and 
common flock, 2,471. 

Hence we find that 78 per cent, of the beds the common 
people nightly seek their repose upon are stuffed with that 
most pernicious material. How is this abominable material 
chosen? There can only be one answer: because it is 
cheap, and the people are ignorant of its real nature. 

The glazed case you see here contains twelve samples 
of flocks kindly furnished me by a well-known English 
firm who manufacture all kinds. Under each sample the 
price is clearly marked. I need only direct your special 
attention to the common unwashed flock (No. 3), sold 
at 4s. 6d. per cwt. all over the country; and the better 
class, which is free from filth and is sold against it, 
namely, No. 7, called " grey millpuff," at 9s. 3d. per cwt. 
I am informed by the makers that the millpuff is ground 
almost to a pulp, which is kept in a moving stream of 
pure water for three-quarters of an hour. 

Now, assuming a complete bed and pillows contain 
42 lbs. of material, the whole difference to the public 
between that clean-looking grey millpuff and the dirty 
unwashed wool flock so much in use is only Is. 9^d. per 
bed; while, if we take the washed woollen millpuff at 
10s. per cwt., the difference is not over 2s. per bed. Beds 
are not purchased so often by the people as to make a 
difference of 2s. felt, even by the humblest, and in any 
event it is clearly against the public interest that this 
vile material should be dispersed broadcast over the 
country. Even the makers of this stuff have conscience 
enough to reprobate its use. The owner of the factory 
from which I took the sample called upon me the follow- 
ing day, and in the conversation which followed he stated 
that he had often wondered that its manufacture and sale 
were not put a stop to. He admitted it was a filthy and 



8 

dangerous material, but he had to make it in self-defence, 
and even as it was he was under-cut in price in the 
Glasgow market by manufacturers in Yorkshire. In 
conversation since with several bedding manufacturers, 
cushion makers, and chair and sofa furnishers, I found 
all were of one mind about it, but none dare decline to 
sell it for fear of losing business. 

If anyone can still be found to support its continued 
sale, let me tell him what Dr. Buchanan, our City Bac- 
teriologist, has written me about it. I give you the 
report in his own words : — 

" Seven specimens of ' flock ' were received from you 
for bacteriological examination on the 17th of February 
last. The specimens comprised seven different qualities 
of flock, as sent out by manufacturers for use in uphol- 
stering and mattress-making. 

" In view of the fact — which has been demonstrated in 
our presence — that this material is frequently made from 
rags and cast-off clothing gathered from ash-pits, the 
bacteriological examination was undertaken to determine, 
from the number and kind of bacteria present, the amount 
of cleansing or disinfection to which the materials had 
been subjected in the course of manufacture. 

" Cultures were made as follows : — A definite quantity 
by weight of each sample of flock — namely, ^ gramme — 
was thoroughly washed in 100 cc. of sterilised water. A 
definite volume (1 cc.) of the washing was diluted, so that 
the quantity ultimately added to the culture media repre- 
sented the washings of towo gramme ot flock. The results 
are computed as the number of bacteria in the washings 
of 1 gramme of flock. The figures can only be taken as 
an approximate indication of the numbers present, as 
the simple process of washing could only set free bacteria 
approximately representing the whole number in the 
material. 

" Two culture media (agar and gelatine) were used, in 
order to determine growth at blood heat and the tempera- 
ture of the air. 



" The samples were examined on two occasions, at an 
interval of about three months ; and, while the results of 
the second examination show a tendency to diminution 
of the bacteria, they at the same time show a general 
agreement with those of the first examination. 

" The experiments very clearly show that the different 
lots varied either in original cleanliness or in the processes 
through which they had been passed. The results ob- 
tained with ' common unwashed flock ' are what might 
be expected from material gathered from such a source 
as that already mentioned. They indicate an amount of 
uncleanliness in the form of live potential dirt that is 
shocking to contemplate, when one considers the purpose 
for which the material is used. In the other samples of 
the first set, A, there is evidence of insufficient cleansing, 
and certainly no indication that any process of disinfec- 
tion has been carried out. In the samples of set B there 
is evidence, in the relatively small number of bacteria, of 
marked improvement.* Taking sample Bl, which may 
be compared with Al, there is such a wholesome difference 
in the numbers — 10,000, say, as compared with 4,500,000 
— as to indicate, if not thorough washing, at least some 
attempt at disinfection. (It may be mentioned by way 
of comparison that the average number of bacteria in the 
same quantity of Loch Katrine water for the year 1903 
was 75, and that the average of 32 examinations of 
Glasgow crude sewage was no more than 197,500.) 

" The results of the examination reveal a state of matters 
calling for remedial action." 

When we consider this expert opinion, and look at the 
figures on the bacteriological table on page 11, which con- 
firm those of our Corporation Chemist, it is with difficulty 
that we are restrained from giving vent to feelings of 
indignation that, as executive sanitary officials, we have 
been for so long powerless to cope with a widespread evil 
in every way calculated to bring disease into the closest 

* It was afterwards admitted by the manufacturer of the samples B. 
that he had subjected them to a high temperature in a stove. 



10 

proximity with our labouring population. It would be 
manifestly safer to sleep on a bed filled with sewage than 
on this material, upon which, as I have shown, 78 per cent, 
of our humbler fellow-citizens are nightly reposing. 

The figures can only be suitably described as appalling 
in their suggestiveness, for again, remember that it is not 
only the 78 per cent, of our humbler classes who are in 
clanger from this material in their homes, but every West- 
end lady who, with severe and unthinking economy, pur- 
chases one of these " cheap and nasty " beds for her 
servant, takes into her otherwise well-appointed home a 
centre of disease potentiality. Tilth in or about the 
servant may mean disease in her household. 

Finally, let me express the hope that, now the facts are 
known, the Government will lose as little time as possible 
in passing a measure which will enable all Local 
Authorities to sample bedding both in the premises of flock 
manufacturers and in those who sell beds, sofas, couches, 
and cushions, and that punishment may follow every sale 
of any such material which does not conform to a certain 
standard of cleanliness and freedom from microbial 
impurity. What that standard may be I leave to the 
judgment of biological experts, but I trust we shall all be 
unanimous in the desire to see, at the very earliest date, a 
severe restriction put on the manufacture and sale of such 
material as I have had the honour to draw your atten- 
tion to. 



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